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With 2013 agenda, Gov. Mary Fallin hopes to continue moving Oklahoma forward

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 5, 2013

In a similar fashion, the governor vowed to preserve Department of Human Services' reforms enacted last year to improve care of abused children, and called for additional funding. Too often, lawmakers are willing to enact significant reforms one session, but wilt away in subsequent years when the forces of the status quo object. By defending past gains, Fallin is ensuring Oklahoma's trajectory continues in the right direction.

Fallin gave a strong defense of her decision to reject Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid, which would cost the state at least $689 million by 2022 and increase dependence on unsustainable federal spending. However, we wish she would have fleshed out state-centered alternatives under consideration in addition to calling for greater mental health funding and efforts to reduce suicide and prescription drug abuse.

We agree with Fallin's statement that “out-of-control workers' compensation costs have been a burden on those doing business in Oklahoma” and that “more needs to be done” to reform the system. But she failed to join legislative leaders in endorsing replacement of the existing litigation-based system with an administrative system.

Fallin justifiably praised Oklahoma's recent economic performance, but our high workers' comp costs remain a notable impediment to growth. It's time to gut and replace this failed system, driving down business costs and removing an unnecessary roadblock to job creation.

While not as ambitious as past efforts, Fallin's 2013 agenda maintains a focus on job creation and economic growth that has allowed Oklahoma to thrive. If lawmakers do the same, this could be a very successful legislative session.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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