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Gov. Mary Fallin: More prosperous state, more responsible government keys to 2013 agenda

BY GOV. MARY FALLIN Published: February 3, 2013

In recent years, Oklahoma's state government has played a vital supporting role to the private sector, helping to promote a business friendly environment that's led to a net gain of more than 62,000 jobs created since 2011. In the 2013 State of the State address Monday, I will outline a vision to continue our remarkable economic growth.

My role as the state's chief executive is to ensure that Oklahoma is well positioned in a national and international economy that's more competitive than ever. To begin, we will need to examine our tax climate. In today's increasingly mobile society, businesses and individuals are leaving states with high taxes and moving to friendlier locations. Oklahoma needs to be at the top of their list. For that reason, I will propose a responsible, measured income tax cut that allows Oklahomans to keep more of their hard-earned money.

We also need to improve our schools, so that Oklahoma produces the kind of highly skilled, highly educated workforce that can attract and retain-high paying jobs. In recent years the Legislature has passed, and I have signed into law, important reform measures designed to raise the bar on academic achievement and encourage greater accountability. My executive budget will propose a measured increase in common education funding specifically to support and implement these reforms.

Supporting job growth also requires eliminating cost drivers to businesses. For decades, out-of-control workers' compensation costs have been a burden on those doing business in Oklahoma. While recent reforms have effectively worked to reduce the total costs of claims, more needs to be done. This year, I will work with the House and Senate to pursue reforms that lower costs for businesses while treating injured workers fairly.

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