It is a positive sign for Oklahoma that the Governor has significantly scaled back her tax cut proposal from last year. Unfortunately, she continues to push for a cut that would take $106 million from Oklahoma schools, public safety, and other core state services without offering any way to pay for it.
The Governor rightfully recognized a need to invest in mental health care, drug treatment, and child welfare to fix longstanding problems in those areas. Yet in other areas her budget falls far short. Governor Fallin’s common education proposal restores less than 5 percent of what Superintendent Barresi says our schools need to fund new mandates passed by the legislature, restore teacher cuts, and keep up with rising enrollment and class sizes.
The governor’s budget fails utterly to address the dangerous situation in our corrections system of overcrowded jails with inadequate staff. Despite Governor Fallin’s acknowledgement that our prosperity is closely linked to a state’s education levels, her budget provides no new funds for higher education or CareerTech.
On health care, the Governor’s continued refusal to accept 100 percent federal funding over the next three years to expand health care access for some 150,000 working Oklahomans and relieve the burden of uncompensated care for our health care providers is a huge missed opportunity that will undermine other efforts to make Oklahoma healthier.