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Officials and policymakers respond to Oklahoma governor's State of the State address

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's address on the State of the State gets mixed reactions
by Graham Lee Brewer Published: February 3, 2014

“Today's speech was more of the same failed priorities that continue to divide us.

“It's clearly outlined in her proposal that she's put politics ahead of people. She's presented the largest property tax increase in state history as her solution.”

— Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, commenting on Fallin's support of HJR 1092, allowing school districts a one-time increase to their bond capacity to pay for storm shelters and school security.

“I think they have to address it, and she didn't even talk about it. So, you know, it seems like they're going to continue to ignore it and pretend that there isn't an issue. I think it's totally irresponsible and people keep saying nobody's going to do anything around here until there is another riot or somebody gets killed, and I think, unfortunately, that's probably true.”

— Oklahoma Corrections Professionals President Sean Wallace, speaking about the need for the state government to do something about staffing shortages in Oklahoma's prisons.

“I'm very concerned about the tax cut because we must fund public education. She does indicate that she's going to try to give us $50 million more for public ed. I want to see exactly what her blueprint is. And, I want to see ... the other cuts in other programs, because the other programs have been pretty well cut about as far as they can be cut. So, we need to see what her actual plan is when we see it in writing. I may be supportive of it, but right now I'm a little hesitant.”

— Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, a 38-year educator, on Fallin's budget cut proposals as they relate to the governor's education initiatives.

“I'm very optimistic, but it's going to take a lot of work. And, it's really going to take a lot of work on the federal government side because they're the ones that are going to have to make some changes to accommodate us. But, it's absolutely worth the effort.

“We have worked well with our federal partner, and I think that was one reason why we were successful in getting our extension of one year, and Governor Fallin was a key part of that. She opened doors that I didn't have access to, and I know she will open those doors again, and it's just a matter of us being able to negotiate a long-term agreement.”

— Nico Gomez, chief executive of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, commenting on Fallin's hope to get a federal waiver making Insure Oklahoma a permanent program.

“This is absolutely the wrong time to cut taxes even further. When we're already in the budget hole and we're facing the prospect of $170 million shortfall, this is the absolute worst time to be cutting taxes further. If we're concerned about our education system and public safety and infrastructure, things that we need for a solid economy, then these budget cuts that would be required are exactly the wrong way to go.”

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by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch, where he covered areas such as immigration and drug addiction, he went...
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