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Quotes of the Day

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March 8,

“What you have is a clever way of basically erasing the law that voters voted for. Legislators have attempted to once again turn simple possession into a felony, which is what their goal is. Certain legislators don’t seem to want to acknowledge the will of the voters.”

-Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform chairman Kris Steele, speaking about HB 1482, which would reverse SQ 780 by reinstating felony drug possession in nearly all populated areas of the state (Source).

March 7,

“Certainly the political reality is that there will be some agency cuts again. How much? Who knows?”

-Senate Pro Tempore Mike Shulz (R-Altus) (Source)

March 6,

“It’s really just a matter of common sense. Family caregivers save the state money. If they weren’t available and willing to take on these responsibilities, thousands more Oklahoma seniors would be in nursing homes at the state’s expense. . . . We urge the Oklahoma Legislature to fully fund DHS’ supplemental budget request of $42 million in support of our elders and family caregivers that rely on home and community based services such as adult day health. If the state doesn’t support them on the front end, it will likely be paying four times more to care for our elders on the back end.”

-LIFE Senior Services CEO Laura Kenny (Source)

March 3,

“We don’t have a public safety problem because we don’t imprison enough offenders. We are unsafe because we don’t spend our money on policies that truly prevent crime. We need to spend less on incarceration and more on proactive community policing strategies that have worked miracles in cities like New York.”

-Andrew Spiropoulos, criticizing efforts, like HB 1482, to reverse SQ 780 (Source)

March 2,

“A recent cut to the state’s personal income tax rate and tax breaks for the oil industry during periods of price declines have compounded the state’s revenue shortfall.”

– S&P Global Ratings, in a report lowering Oklahoma’s bond rating on Wednesday. The agency also lowered its rating Oklahoma’s appropriation debt (Source)

March 1,

“With revenue being difficult to raise, the Legislature often turns to cuts. Some lawmakers say that’s a good thing. Oklahoma families must control their spending; why shouldn’t the state? That’s a fair point, but here is the truth of the matter: our state government is not like a family that has bought a Ferrari and now must return it. We are like a family living in a house with a leaky roof and no heat, driving our kids around in a car that is about to break down. The solution to that problem is not less spending; it is investment with proper revenue.”

– Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy Executive Director Joe Dorman, calling on lawmakers to raise revenues (Source)

February 28,

“That threshold has put us in a position right now where we can’t do anything to raise revenue and fix the budget. Right now it’s so easy to cut taxes but so hard to raise revenue.”

-Rep. Monroe Nichols (D-Tulsa), the author of House Joint Resolution 1003, which calls for a statewide vote on returning the threshold for tax increases to a simple majority, rather than the three quarters majority required under current law (Source)

February 27,

“I don’t know how much more I can emphasize that the time for action is now. It’s not a game. We need new revenue.”

-Oklahoma Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger, speaking about a state general revenue and 1017 fund shortfall that will mean about $50 million in mid-year budget cuts for schools (Source).

February 24,

“Voters in November loudly and clearly approved these significant reforms for our criminal justice system. The changes take effect in July but, unfortunately, this legislative session has already seen misguided efforts by legislators to gut the voter’s wishes before they even take effect. This is precisely the type of political dishonesty that has voters so upset with elected officials across the country.”

– Former House Speaker Kris Steele, on legislation (HB 1482) that would effectively undo criminal justice reforms included in a State Question approved by voters in November (Source)

February 23,

“If you turn off the existing system, we might leave as many as 32 million people without insurance. If we turn it off instantly, you don’t have a way to protect those people.”

– U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Cheyenne), speaking against repealing the Affordable Care Act without replacing it at a town hall meeting in Sapulpa on Wednesday (Source). Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement in place would spell chaos for Oklahomans’ health care [OK Policy]

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