Budget cuts are a choice

In a recent article on state budget negotiations, House Speaker Kris Steele said he and other state leaders are “doing our best to minimize the cuts” to core agencies. He contrasted the treatment of core agencies to the larger cuts… Read more [More...]

What's at stake: the toll of budget cuts

Another budget year, the same sad story: The combination of tax cuts and the recession results in severe cuts to public services. Over the past two years, most agencies have lost 15 percent or more of their funding. Even though… Read more [More...]

Pick your poison: Suffocating or amputating state services?

As we discussed in this recent blog post, the State Department of Health has been among the state agencies hit hardest by successive rounds of budget cuts the past two years. State appropriations have been reduced by $11.3 million, or… Read more [More...]

What's at stake: Budget cuts are eroding the public health infrastructure

By now, it is well known that the state budget has been under severe duress over the past two years. Overall, as we show in the latest version of our Budget Trends and Highlights fact sheet, this year’s state appropriations… Read more [More...]

Doing more with less? State employee association directors says "We're there"

The ongoing state budget crisis has meant fewer state employees are assuming greater responsibilities.  Sterling Zearley is Executive Director of Oklahoma Public Employees Association, the largest association representing state employees. I spoke with him by phone on November 16th. Here’s… Read more [More...]

We’re in this together: Private sector suffers, too, from public sector decay

Last month I gave a presentation to a meeting of the State Chamber of Commerce along with a representative from another state policy organization.  I was struck, and frankly dismayed, by the extent to which my co-presenter  spoke as if… Read more [More...]

Tipped over: State's public broadcaster now doing less with less

For many state agencies, the first rounds of budget cuts over the past two years could be managed without greatly affecting key programs and services for the public. But as funding cuts go deeper and last longer, often a tipping… Read more [More...]

What's at stake: Prison powder keg

Back in March, a member of the Board that oversees the state Department of Corrections (DOC) delivered a blunt message to the state’s elected officials about the impact that growing inmate populations and funding cuts were having on the department’s… Read more [More...]

What's at stake: Public health budget cuts

While discussing the state of public health in Oklahoma with a House health appropriations subcommittee, Health Commissioner Terry Cline warned that “Oklahoma is about to become the public health joke of the country.” With Oklahoma standing at 49th in overall… Read more [More...]

What's at stake: Medicaid under the budget knife

OK Policy has argued repeatedly  that next year’s budget outlook, with shortfalls equal to cuts of 12 percent across all agencies of state government above those already enacted this year, threatens to have catastrophic consequences for the state’s economy, businesses,… Read more [More...]