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Quotes of the Day

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July 19,

“The Legislature is responsible for the cuts. It knew that the funding levels it was considering were inadequate, but passed them anyway. The fact that lawmakers didn’t take the time to write a line-item budget (and, thus, acknowledge responsibility) is no excuse.” 

– Tulsa World Editorial Board, pushing back against claims by House leadership that DHS unnecessarily cut programs for foster families, seniors, and people with disabilities (Source)

July 18,

“There’s no doubt that DHS’s costs have grown far in excess of appropriations. Over the last few years, the Legislature has worked hard to increase the appropriation from $672 million to $700 million, but we can’t discount the fact that, during this same period, DHS has faced cost increases and lost revenue totaling at least $175 million. That is obviously far more than the $28 million increase in appropriations. This agency serves foster children, the disabled, the elderly, and those who cannot help themselves. It is not directing dollars to a nameless agency; it is directing dollars to lives. Any and all decisions to make cuts were devastating to the staff, the management, and the appropriators.”

– Rep. Leslie Osborn, responding to claims by House leadership that DHS made unnecessary cuts to services after receiving increased appropriations this year (Source)

July 17,

“There are winners, but they aren’t people in need. The winners are corporate and moneyed interests who get tax breaks, and yet the Legislature has deemed that’s the way they want to go.”

Don Hudman, executive director of the Areawide Aging Agency, speaking about the programs that will be cut as the Department of Human Services determines how to deal with a budget that is $33 million below the cost of operation this year (Source)

July 14,

“Children are your future citizens, your employees, your job creators, your inventors. If you don’t invest in the early brain you are saying you don’t think your society has a future.”

-Pediatrician Dipesh Navsaria, who was the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Early Childhood Coalition Business Summit in Oklahoma City (Source).

July 13,

“The state has been unable to address its fiscal challenges with structural and recurring measures and revenue collections continue to reflect subdued energy prices.”

– From a Fitch credit rating report that downgraded Oklahoma’s bond rating. The change could cost the state millions of dollars in interest over the life of the bonds it issues (Source)

July 12,

“We know foster families are the backbone of our placement system and are extremely grateful to them for partnering with us to provide care for children who come into state custody. The last thing we want to do is take a step backward from progress with these payments, but our current revenue shortfall leaves us no easy choices.”

– DHS Director Ed Lake announcing cuts to DHS programs that serve vulnerable children and adults, including reimbursements to foster families (Source)

July 11,

“Good luck if you think they’re going to fix some of these hard issues.”

-Gov. Mary Fallin, expressing her skepticism that the legislature will make progress on fixing structural budget problems next year in the run-up to the 2018 elections (Source)

July 10,

“Just because a person battles addiction does not mean they’re a bad person. They need help. Jails across Oklahoma have become the largest mental health providers in the county and in the state. The problem is jails are not designed, nor equipped, nor staffed to provide mental health care.”

-Kris Steele, Chairman of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, speaking about the importance State Questions 780 and 781 in making our approach to drug crime more effective (Source)

July 7,

“I can say that cutting these programs, even if it looks to be necessary based on what funding the Health Department has and what they have to do to just make it through the year, is another example of how we’re cutting things that will cost Oklahoma a lot more over the long run.”

– Oklahoma Policy Institute Policy Director Gene Perry on news that the state Department of Health will cut about $100,000 from child abuse prevention programs (Source). The Oklahoma State Department of Health has been cut by 29 percent since 2009 

July 6,

“They have to move forward with their budget and have faith that if the courts do strike all of part of the new revenue, the Legislature will go to special session immediately (to find a way to replace the money). I know there’s a lot of angst and anxiety from all parts of state government around the lawsuits.”

– Sean Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, on school districts’ difficulties building their budgets for the upcoming school year (Source)

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