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Quotes of the Day

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December 22,

“For those who say that we don’t have a revenue problem, I will say this, ‘You don’t have to say it with words because your actions are showing it.’ If you have to use a half a billion dollars every single year in your budget to spend more than your recurring revenues will allow, that shows a revenue problem.”

-State Treasurer Ken Miller, on the revenue shortfall for next year (Source)

December 21,

“We cannot afford another trigger, because that would hit from $90 million to $140 million taken out of the budget when we’re already strained. Can you imagine what would happen if the (Board of Equalization) said we had the amount of money needed for the second trigger to catch in? School districts would have to shut down in April if we make them another cut.”

-State Sen. Ron Sharp (R-Shawnee), explaining the need to modify an income tax cut trigger that could go into effect in 2018 (Source)

December 20,

“State officials cannot bank on oil returning to its 2014, $100-per-barrel peaks, even though the financial line graphs are beginning to turn upward. Nor can it rely on one-time cuts to fix what has become a chronic revenue crisis. There will be difficult choices this year, and they cannot all be in the form of agency cuts. Legislators must address the revenue side and eliminate every incentive that hasn’t produced a quantifiable benefit.”

-The Journal Record Editorial Board (Source)

December 19,

“I help process food stamps and other forms of assistance, but there are many workers here who have had to use those same services. When I started working here almost 11 years ago, the pay seemed OK but cost of living goes up and with no raises, it has become a struggle.”

-Cindy Shewmake, speaking about thousands of Oklahoma state employees at DHS, the Department of Corrections and other agencies who are not being paid a living wage (Source).

December 16,

“It is important that we provide families and communities with something that is easy to understand but is accurate and meaningful. I think we have found that balance today, and now it is time for the Legislature to take that … We hope that we’ll have a system in the future that is going to be an improvement over what has been in place for the last few years.”

– State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister, speaking after the  State Board of Education approved a proposal for a new A-F school report card system on Thursday (Source)

December 15,

“If nothing is done to address the systemic drivers of jail overcrowding described in this report, any new facility, regardless of its size, will experience the same problems as the current facility.”

– A finding in a report on overcrowding at the Oklahoma City jail by the Vera Institute and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Criminal Justice Reform Task Force (Source). The full report can be found here

December 14,

“As substance abuse issues touch more families and communities, we need to focus on treatment to help women get on the right path and keep families together. With the work of the task force, we have an opportunity to bring long-needed improvements addressing crimes driven by substance abuse disorders.”

-Jan Peery, CEO of YWCA Oklahoma City, and Dianne Barker Harrold, Indian Country consultant and victim specialist, on the work of the Justice Reform Task Force that will produce proposals to reduce the prison population before the 2017 legislative session (Source)

December 13,

“Oklahomans tend to be very generous and caring, and there are a number of excellent private programs here. However, at the governmental level, we invest very little in those who are disadvantaged.”

-Susan Sharp, a sociology professor at the University of Oklahoma and co-chairwoman of the state’s Children of Incarcerated Parents Advisory Committee, commenting on the importance of programs that connect children with their incarcerated parents and the lack of public support for those programs (Source)

December 12,

“It would take about $300 million to fund a $5,000 raise and that’s going to take some form of new revenue. A plan is just rhetoric until it includes an actual way to fund it.”

-Amber England, Executive Director of Stand for Children Oklahoma, who said she has heard lots of support for a teacher pay raise, but not as many details about how to do it (Source).

December 9,

“Legislators do not just employ a single executive assistant, but more than 30,000 state workers who want them to accept responsibility and be good employers. Oklahoma state workers deserve lawmakers’ respect and support. They deserve a meaningful and significant pay increase in 2017.”

-Sean Wallace, policy director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, arguing for pay raises for state employees. Most state employees have gone a decade or more without one (Source)