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Fallin veto aimed at avoiding bigger shortfall

Lawmakers will likely return to the state Capitol sooner than expected in light of Gov. Mary Fallin's shocking veto of most of a budget bill approved by the Legislature only hours earlier Friday.

The nearly two-month-long special session appeared to come to a close after the state Senate sent Fallin a proposal that largely relies on one-time revenue and broad budget cuts to close the state's $214 million shortfall.

But Fallin announced late Friday that she vetoed most of the bill with the exception of temporary funding for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Department of Human Services and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

Fallin said she will call a second special session to force lawmakers back to find new budget solutions. The Legislature could also override her veto if lawmakers can secure the needed two-thirds vote in both chambers.

In explaining her move, the governor said it was unacceptable that the Legislature cut about $60 million while using much of the state's remaining reserves and revolving funds.

Had Fallin not vetoed the budget, she said, she was concerned the Legislature would have returned to the Capitol in less than three months for the 2018 regular session facing many the same problems that plagued them this year: a multi-hundred-million budget shortfall and narrowing options to balance the budget.

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