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Quotes of the Day

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June 12,

“Oklahoma’s ill-considered state income tax cuts have devastated the state’s ability to fund public schools, higher education, health, mental health and public safety. The promise of short-term economic growth never appeared, and the state’s long-term prospects are being cut short by these self-inflicted wounds.”

– Tulsa World Editorial Writers regarding Kansas’s decision last week to rollback many of the tax cuts of 2012 (Source)

June 9,

“The stakes of this case for the public cannot be overstated.”

– From a lawsuit filed by Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, and other plaintiffs claiming the $1.50 per pack tobacco ‘fee’ passed by lawmakers earlier this spring is unconstitutional. If the fee is struck down, it would leave a multimillion dollar hole in the state budget (Source)

June 8,

“Now we have a source of money. Then we can work our way out of the hole that we’re in. It’s almost like you can breathe.”

– Kansas state Rep. Barbara Ballard (D-Lawrence), describing state Legislature’s override of Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a $1.2 billion tax increase, including rolling back his landmark tax cuts. Kansas faced a $900 million budget shortfall this year (Source)

June 7,

“Some have said we are doing this too fast, that it took Texas six years to accomplish what we are trying to do in two. Let’s not forget, we are facing a dire financial situation to the tune of an additional $2 billion to incarcerate even more Oklahomans. While disappointed with the lack of progress this session, I remain committed to criminal justice reform and will continue the push to make Oklahoma smarter on how we confront crime.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin, on the need to pursue criminal justice reform after the bulk of the proposals put forth by the Justice Reform Task Force fell short of passage this year (Source)

June 6,

“You can’t blame teachers like [2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Shawn] Sheehan who — between he and his wife — will receive a $40,000 per year pay bump by moving to Texas. Who you can blame is the state legislature, a group of individuals who will continue to keep Oklahoma at the bottom nationally in spending per pupil and teacher salaries, while refusing to take a systemic revenue problem head on.”

-Norman Transcript Editorial Board, criticizing the Legislature for failing to provide increased funding for education in next year’s budget (Source)

June 5,

“We made it OK to talk about revenue. It’s OK. We can talk about it now. We made it OK to talk about criminal justice reform. … That’s big. Some of those topics were taboo before this year.”

– Chris Benge, Chief of Staff to Governor Mary Fallin, speaking about the relatively new consensus among state policymakers that Oklahoma has a revenue problem (Source)

June 2,

“This legislation promotes innovative ideas in de-stressing food deserts. It could be something like a mobile market food truck or renovate a grocery or corner store to allow for more space for healthy foods. … The money is really intended to help people get off the ground and help address the food desert issue.”

– Effie Craven,  state advocacy and public policy director for Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, on SB 506, which created the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a public-private program to eliminate the state’s food deserts by encouraging construction and expansion of grocery stores, corner stores, farmers markets and more (Source)

June 1,

“I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be a taxpaying citizen if education was in the state then that it is today. We are not going to break the cycle of poverty if our people aren’t educated. Every time you increase tuition, higher education is shutting out another family that could be helped out of poverty.”

– East Central University President Katricia Pierson (Source)

May 31,

“There is nowhere you can cut in DHS that doesn’t hurt someone. This is all we do. We serve vulnerable Oklahomans. When you have to look at reducing those services, unfortunately these are the only options we have.”

-Oklahoma Department of Human Services communications director Sheree Powell, speaking about a $33 million state funding shortfall for the agency that will force cuts to programs for Oklahomans most vulnerable children and seniors (Source).

May 30,

“I don’t think it’s right. I think our kids are losing out on education. They’re trying to cram a five-day week into a four-day week.”

-Sandy Robertson, a grandmother of four in Newcastle,  speaking about Oklahoma the numerous Oklahoma school districts going to 4-day weeks or shortening the school year to cope with state budget cuts (Source).

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