Okla. governor pledges to seek income tax cut

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm •  Published: January 23, 2013
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The Senate's minority leader, Sen. Sean Burrage, D-Claremore, said there are too many demands on state money.

"We are in no position to cut revenue," when the state needs to spend more on its workers, schools and to make necessary repairs to the Capitol, Burrage said.

Fallin also said she plans to propose $16 million in new funding for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and a $40 million boost in revenue to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to cover an anticipated increase in the number of enrollees in the state's Medicaid program.

The ODMHSAS funding would help fund several programs, including a new crisis center, drug treatment, suicide prevention and counseling services for families with children with severe emotional disturbances.

The state's Medicaid population is expected to grow once new tax penalties are in place under the new federal health care law for those who do not have health insurance. Fallin said the $40 million would help pay for so-called "woodwork eligibles," low-income Oklahomans who are eligible for Medicaid but are not currently enrolled in the program.

Legislative leaders also discussed a proposal to increase salaries for state workers through a new merit-based system for pay hikes. Shannon said that while he believes state workers deserve a pay increase, it likely will be targeted raises and not an across-the-board hike.

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Sean Murphy can be reached at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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