Ken Miller May Need Fireproof Britches Today
The treasurer's critical comments about the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, written in the main by fellow Republicans Governor Mary Fallin, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman and House Speaker Kris Steele, prompted some heat yesterday after The McCarville Report Online reported the comments.
By late last night, Capitol sources relate, the anger at Miller had turned from heated to red hot as legislators and staffers discussed Miller's remarks.
"Who the hell does he think he is?" asked a highly-placed Senate staffer privvy to conversations about Miller yesterday afternoon and early last night. The staffer asked not to be identified, saying he wasn't authorized to speak for Senate leadership. But, he added, it's no secret that "The president pro tem and others are pissed, and I mean pissed" at Miller, a former representative who a year ago was helping write a budget that contained items he now criticizes.
Miller's comments came in a new monthly online newsletter. In his personal column, he discussed the new budget, lamented its shortcomings and said it maintains the "status quo" despite having been written with Republican control of the Legislature and the Governor's Office. Read Miller's comments in their entirety at http://www.ok.gov/treasurer/documents/OER_5-18-11.pdf
Yesterday, Fallin's spokesman, Alex Weintz, issued a terse statement expressing disappointment in Miller's critique of the budget. Said Weintz: "The Monday-morning quarterbacking and inaccurate critiques coming from the Treasurer's Office are puzzling and disappointing."
Steele made no public comment, but there was obvious consternation about Miller's remarks, characterized by Press Secretary John Estus as "strangely, (Miller) blamed it for looking too much like the budgets he helped craft."
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman David Myers, R-Ponca City, told the Tulsa World he was surprised by Miller's criticism, while Vice Chairman Clark Jolley said he appreciated that "my friend pointed out that we had good intentions."
Miller's outburst was the watercooler topic at the Capitol in the afternoon. One House member jokingly complained he couldn't get anything done "because all everybody wants to talk about is Ken Miller."