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Quotes of the Day

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October 4,

“Right now, we get paid about $20 less per day than what it costs to take care of that [Medicaid recipient]. We’re able to make up some of that through a small percentage of people who privately pay and a small percentage of Medicare. You get to a point where you can no longer pay staff or no longer afford to stay in regulatory compliance, and you have to shut the door.”

– Nico Gomez, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, calling the effects of a potential 9 percent cut to Medicaid provider reimbursement rates “heartbreaking” (Source)

October 3,

“The incentive overall cannot, with the data available, be credibly shown to have significant economic impact or a positive return on investment for the state.”

– PFM Group Consulting, in a report to the state Incentive Evaluation Commission that recommends ending the capital gain tax exemption, which the company says has cost the state $465 million over five years (Source)

October 2,

“Essentially, I’m crying ‘help’ and nobody’s listening. I think what we have here is a vacuum of leadership. Looking at the big picture, we have two choices here. We can either start very small and improve on this program … or they can give me more money and I can build a bunch of prisons and we just keep locking people up and throwing away the key.”

– State Corrections Department Director Joe Allbaugh (Source)

September 29,

“The state of Oklahoma was cheated this week. We were in session a total of 28 minutes over three days at a cost of $30,000 a day. We believe the Senate Republicans want to work with us. The governor wants to work with us. We’re all wanting to get something done, but we need the revenue. We’re all on the same page: We cannot cut. I’m hoping House Republicans will get on board and work with everybody. You can only blame the Democrats so much.”

– Rep. Matt Meredith (D-Tahlequah) on the lack of a budget deal at the end of the first week of special session (Source)

September 28,

“We always hear legislators say how much they appreciate state employees and that’s all fine and good, but you know what—they need to pay them and retain them. There’s $120 million dollars worth of turnover rate. State employees are getting tired of saying ‘we appreciate you, we appreciate you’—that can just go so far. You need to compensate them appropriately.”

– Sterling Zearley, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, calling for a $7,500 raise for all state employees (Source)

September 27,

“The votes, when this comes to the floor … are not there. Insanity is putting the same thing up over and over again, knowing it will fail.”

– Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, predicting that a proposed $1.50-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax, intended to help fill the $215 million budget gap, will not pass the House and Senate with the three-quarters majority required for revenue-raising measures. A similar measure failed during the regular session (Source)

September 26,

“We knocked close to 10,000 doors (during the campaign) and a lot of the feedback we were getting from the voters was they were not happy with the way things ended this year during the regular session. They were not happy that the education funding issue didn’t get solved or even really attempted. That was punted.”

– Mike Edwards, chairman of the Cleveland County Republican Party (Source)

September 25,

“Additional cuts to agencies will further harm state services. I will veto a proposal that calls for cuts to state agencies. Also, sending the cigarette tax to a vote of the people is not an option. The earliest the issue could be decided by voters is June, the last month of the current fiscal year. It doesn’t fix the budget hole because it would not generate any revenue for this fiscal year.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin urging lawmakers to address the state’s structural budget deficit in the special session beginning today (Source)

September 22,

“If [Speaker McCall’s] willing to let the voters decide on an increase in the cigarette tax, then we think he ought to let voters decide on an increase in the gross production tax, as well.”

– House Democratic leader Scott Inman announcing that his members will file bills to calling for a legislative ballot initiative to restore the gross production tax to 7 percent if the legislature does not do so in special session (Source)

September 21,

“[A bipartisan agreement to raise new revenues] could provide for a teacher pay raise and reverse some of the cuts to foster care families, senior nutrition, and mental health. On the other hand, doing nothing and allowing our state to fall even further behind is a real possibility, if partisan differences and ideological rigidity are allowed to stand in the way of practical solutions. It’s up to all of us who care about the health and prosperity of Oklahoma to tell our elected representatives that this outcome is unacceptable.”

– OK Policy Executive Director David Blatt, urging legislators to strike a grand bargain on the budget to raise revenue from a wide range of Oklahomans and invest in critical services (Source)

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