Tulsans react to failed budget proposal (KTUL)

By Kimberly Jackson

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Lawmakers are still deciding how to handle Oklahoma’s massive budget shortfall. Today a proposal that would have meant additional taxes on liquor, cigarettes, and fuel, failed in the House of Representatives. That left democrats and republicans still at odds, and a lingering $215 million dollar shortfall.

“What’s frustrating is that from the moment the governor and Republican legislative leaders stood up at the podium to announce their plan, they knew Democrats were going to vote against that plan,” said David Blatt, watching the developments from his position at the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

Others are concerned, failure to find the revenue needed will mean agencies that impact the public’s health and mental health, will take cuts no one can afford.

“It’s about people’s lives, that are dangling in the grips of what is happening here. Every moment we wait, people are becoming more traumatized, more anxious and afraid about what is really their lifeline,” said Melissa Baldwin of the Mental Health Association.

She and many others are hoping lawmakers will reach a compromise, soon.



Margaret (Maggie) den Harder obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Theology from Seattle Pacific University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Originally from the Pacific Northwest area of Washington state, Maggie has called Tulsa home for the past 8 years. Since living in Tulsa, Maggie has worked in the legal field, higher education administration, and the nonprofit sector as well as actively volunteering in the community. Maggie also recently spent time at the City of Tulsa as a consultant and wrote the content for Resilient Tulsa, an action-oriented strategy designed to better equity in Tulsa. Through her work, community involvement, and personal experiences, Maggie is interested in the intersection of the law and mental health and addiction treatment issues, preventative and diversion programs, and maternal mental health, particularly post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis. While working at Oklahoma Policy Institute as a research intern, Maggie further developed an interest in family dynamics and stability, economic security-related stress, and intergenerational trauma.

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