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Quotes of the Day

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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).

May 26,

“I’m sorry it’s come to this, but I will leave with my head held high. I poured my heart and soul into my teaching at Norman High School. I represented our state at the highest level. I tried to help find funding sources via SQ 779. I ran for state senate. I started a non-profit focused on teacher recruitment and retention that has spread nationwide. I’ve done everything I know how to do to try and make things better.” 

– 2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Shawn Sheehan, explaining why he and his wife are leaving their jobs teaching in Oklahoma to teach in Texas (Source)

May 25,

“This is a real disservice to the people of Oklahoma to do it this way. This is not the way it should work.”

– Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City), on the Oklahoma legislature’s last-minute budget assembly (Source)

May 24,

“We put together what we could with 51-vote [revenue-raising] measures. These are horrible funding levels. We are massively underfunded in state government.”

-House Budget Chairwoman Leslie Osborn, introducing budget proposals in a midnight committee meeting last night (Source)

May 23,

“Oil and gas leaders, it’s time to step up (again) and decide — are you a part of this community or are you here for the ‘shareholder value?’ You need to answer this carefully because if you want to treat Oklahoma and its citizens with a ‘it’s just business’ attitude — we can do that and you’ll be facing citizens demanding more than just 7 percent GPT.”

-Lanie James, a former oil and gas communications professional, urging energy companies to contribute to solving the state’s budget crisis through higher gross production taxes (Source)

May 22,

“We would love to be able to just roll up a bus — and have paid leave — to come up here and advocate on behalf of their services. State employees to do this have to take their own annual leave and leave their work site. You very well can’t do that at a prison, and DHS is so understaffed like a lot of agencies. They can’t absorb the caseload. We’re advocating on behalf of restoring the 7 percent gross production tax. It’s part of the shared funding to restore core services, including education and the Department of Corrections.”

– Tom Dunning, communications director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association and a representative of Save our State, speaking about employees of the oil and gas industry’s lobbying efforts at the state capitol last week. (Source)

May 19,

“We knew that (lawmakers) were acting a lot like the passengers of the Titanic (who) started rearranging deck chairs while the ship was sinking, ignoring the reality that the ship was sinking. …We wanted to give them a visual representation. We don’t have to hit that iceberg. We actually have a choice.”

– OK Policy Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator Kara Joy McKee, who along with other organizers of the Save Our State Coalition wore bright orange life vests with a cardboard cutout of the Titanic as part of an effort to convince legislators to raise the gross production tax (Source)

May 18,

“In a budget of $6 billion, I think we can prioritize a teacher pay raise.”

– Rep. Michael Rogers (R-Broken Arrow), on two teacher pay raise bills in a key House committee on Wednesday. Funding sources have not been identified for either bill (Source)

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