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Quotes of the Day

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May 17,

“I’ll own it. I made a mistake. We lowered the our base too low. … Let’s go the way of Kansas and Sam Brownback. How’s that’s working? No matter what you hear, things are falling apart there.”

-House Appropriations and Budget Chair Leslie Osborn, arguing for new revenue in next year’s budget (Source

May 16,

“I think it’s being used as a ploy, a leveraging point. If there’s a will there’s a way. There’s just no will right now.”

-Craig Jones, president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, on the failure of a cigarette tax increase in the House of Representatives yesterday (Source)

May 15,

“In terms of quality of life and core government services, we are truly in a race to the bottom. As an oilman and banker, I know that we cannot attract talent nor retain our bright high school and college graduates nor generate any true economic development with poor schools, healthcare, public safety and infrastructure. We are seeing an evacuation of our best and brightest, and not just teachers.”

George Kaiser, founder of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, urging lawmakers to find a real solution to the state’s budget crisis (Source)

May 12,

“This session is a series of very difficult votes for every party. And it is going to be a gut check for every member whether or not they are willing to step up and make the very, very difficult votes at a very, very difficult time and then go back to their district and explain why they did what they did.”

– Oklahoma House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City) (Source)

May 11,

“Budget cuts of this magnitude mean that district leaders must make extraordinarily difficult decisions to balance the budget and keep our doors open to the 40,000 children we serve. The best interests of our kids must always come first, but the unfortunate reality is that nearly a decade of chronic underfunding of public education in Oklahoma has put us in a position where any decision we make will impact our students, teachers, and schools.”

– Excerpt from an email sent to parents, teachers, and staff of the five southwest Tulsa schools Superintendent Deborah Gist plans to propose consolidating as part of the budget reduction plans to be presented at a special school board meeting Thursday evening (Source)

May 10,

“I am really, really, disheartened. You know, I have thought about going to other districts, about putting my children in private school, but the fact is that education everywhere is struggling.”

-Tammy McCartney, a mother of two and former teacher, on the prospect of further cuts to public education in this year’s budget (Source)

May 9,

“The repeal of this tax cut is a milestone. After years of promises that income tax cuts would pay for themselves, a majority of lawmakers have finally begun to recognize the cost. We cannot afford more tax cuts that have drained resources from our communities without paying off in economic growth.”

-From OK Policy’s statement on the passage of SB 170, which repealed an income tax trigger (Source)

May 8,

“Not one more Oklahoman should die because of untreated mental illness or substance abuse problems. Not one more should. We have to put a positive face and voice on recovery to show people it is a reality.”

– Donna Woods, Oklahoma Citizen Advocates for Recovery and Transformation Association (OCARTA) executive director, calling on the Oklahoma legislature to invest in addition treatment and support (Source)

May 5,

“Now, therefore, be it resolved that we, the members of the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education, joining with voices from all sectors and throughout the state, hereby do call on members of the legislature of the State of Oklahoma to immediately pass legislation to return the Gross Production Tax to the historic rate of 7% to be effective for all wells on July 1, 2017 and thereby put us on the path for an adequately funded public education system with the resources to pay our teachers an honorable wage and support the most important of our work as a State: preparing every student for the greatest success in college, careers and life.” 

– Concluding paragraph of a resolution urging the legislature to raise the gross production tax passed by Tulsa Public Schools on May 1, 2017 (Source)

May 4,

“I know it is a hard vote. I have had to make a lot of hard votes, too. But I am willing to stay here at this Capitol as long as I need to, and if I have to veto the budget because we don’t get our work done and we devastate our state agencies and not fund core mission services our citizens actually demand that we do, then I am willing to veto the budget. I am willing to stay as long as we need to until we get our job done.”

– Gov. Fallin, warning lawmakers that they have just a few weeks left to develop a workable budget at a press conference on Wednesday (Source)

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