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Quotes of the Day

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January 31,
2017

“I have been able to return to work, pay taxes, vote and provide myself with enough leftover to visit my family once or twice a year. I have the freedom to afford to drive my car, go places, socialize and live life. As you can see, I’m not dead.”

-Terry St. Germain, an Oklahoma resident who credits mental health care provided by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for helping her treat her depression. The agency requested a $35 million increase in funding this year to maintain its current level of services (Source)

January 30,
2017

“This executive action has some unintended consequences that were not well thought out. I encourage the president’s staff to evaluate American policy with an eye on both security and compassion for the refugees fleeing the terrors of war and persecution.”

-U.S. Senator James Lankford, in a statement on the Trump administration’s order to temporarily ban immigrants from coming to the United States (Source).

January 27,
2017

“The No. 1 concern with the budget is making sure we do not erode the infrastructure and progress we’ve made in the state. I have grave concerns about that.”

– Oklahoma Secretary of Health Terry Cline, speaking at a Tulsa Regional Chamber panel discussion on health care and the upcoming legislative session (Source)

January 26,
2017

“There’s a lot of repercussions not just within the immediate family but across the city and the nation. There’s been uncertainty from day one [of the Trump administration]. It makes it difficult for the community. A lot of them are working, have kids, have families.”

– Jose Cruz, a US citizen living in Oklahoma City who immigrated from Mexico as a child, on the effects of President Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration (Source)

January 25,
2017

“Even if our economy does recover, it’s going to be very anemic for several years, as the oil and gas industry recovers from this latest catastrophe. We cannot afford a tax cut. We just realize we don’t have the money to pay for core, essential services.”

-State Senator Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, on the need to ensure that another income tax cut doesn’t go into effect (Source)

January 24,
2017

“I’ve had several legislators ask me if I’m serious. I’m deadly serious about this. Corrections is a core function of state government. Our No. 1 priority is public safety, and public safety at our facilities is currently at risk.”

-Oklahoma Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh, explaining why his agency requested $1.65 billion for FY 2018 – more than triple their current budget (Source)

January 23,
2017

“If you actually look at the trends, recidivism has gotten worse as our prisons have gotten more crowded. I’m not surprised that the DOC is over capacity because we basically have been throwing the key out on people for a long time in this state.”

-John Carl, a criminology professor in the University of Oklahoma’s sociology department, speaking about the Oklahoma Department of Corrections requesting $850 million to build two new prisons in Oklahoma because the current prison system is seriously overcrowded (Source).

January 20,
2017

“Or let me put it another way: You’re doing it wrong.”

– Scott Drenkard, director of state projects with the Tax Foundation, speaking to the Kansas House Taxation Committee hearing about the state’s deep tax cuts and resultant budget shortfall (Source).  The Kansas tax cut experiment has a close cousin in Oklahoma (OK Policy).

January 19,
2017

“We do expect another tough year of having cuts. I hope it’s the last. I’m optimistic that the economy is going to turn around.”

– Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, on the budget shortfall state lawmakers will have to contend with in the upcoming legislative session (Source)

January 18,
2017

“Some legislative leaders have said some of the budget requests have been unrealistic, and there’s some truth there. No one, including Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh, actually expects the state to come up with more than a billion new dollars to lock up prisoners. But, in another way, the numbers are completely realistic. They represent that real cost of running the state the way the Legislature says it wants it run. The Legislature created the criminal justice system the way it is, and Allbaugh is just telling the powers that be — realistically — what it should cost.”

-Tulsa World Editorial Board, on budget requests by state agencies that ask for significant increases in funding in the coming year (Source)