House Democrats release priorities

They want to see the Medicaid program expanded and oppose a bond issue to repair the state Capitol.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Capitol Bureau mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: January 30, 2013
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“Our caucus will also continue to oppose any cuts to the state income tax,” said Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City. “The House Democratic caucus believes that a strong and vibrant Oklahoma can only grow its economy if we support a sound, fiscally responsible budget that doesn't slash revenues while pushing the state further into debt.”

House Democrats support expanding Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, in the state, Inman said.

“A healthy state and a healthy economy go hand in hand,” he said. “The expansion of Medicaid would bring us closer to this reality for the thousands of Oklahomans who are currently unable to afford and access health insurance. But with nearly $600 million in uncompensated care being delivered every year, our doctors and hospitals at the front lines of our health care system, especially in rural areas, are struggling to survive.”

House Democrats did agree with Fallin on increasing funding for mental health care services. Fallin last week said she is seeking a $16 million increase for the state Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department, which received $193.3 million this fiscal year.

House Republicans are scheduled to release their priorities Thursday.