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Gov. Mary Fallin talks fiscal cliff with Obama, congressional leaders

Fallin says states need more flexibility to deal with federal mandates if funds are cut as part of deficit-reduction deal
by Chris Casteel Published: December 4, 2012

— Gov. Mary Fallin urged President Barack Obama and congressional leaders on Tuesday to keep states' finances in mind as they negotiate over federal taxes and spending cuts.

At a White House meeting with fellow governors, Fallin sat between the president and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for a discussion on the looming “fiscal cliff,” a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts that will be triggered in January if Congress and the president don't take action to avert them.

“We did not come here to endorse any particular policy that is being debated on the national level … but to say we feel like the governors should have a seat at the table,” Fallin said after the meeting.

“We want to offer information, we want to be a resource that there are great ideas in creating efficiencies, saving money in our own states, and we hope that we can be a part of the process moving forward.”

Fallin, vice chair of the National Governors Association, was one of six governors, from both parties, who met with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Geithner and others at the White House. She and other governors met with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Fallin said the governors acknowledged deficit reduction will require shared sacrifice and that state budgets would likely be impacted. She said states should be freed from mandates if federal budget cuts make them unaffordable.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, chair of the National Governors Association, said the president didn't “handicap” the prospect of reaching an agreement with congressional Republicans to avoid the fiscal cliff. Markell said the president made it clear he wants to reach a deal.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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