Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Oklahoma Governor Fallin Stands with Cuts to Agencies and Tax Cuts for the Wealthy in her Budget

The Oklahoma Governor won't stop with wanting a tax cut for donors and the wealthy.  ALEC agenda all the way.  At the same time she wants cuts to her Administration Agencies and Medicaid while refusing to take Federal funding under ACA for Medicaid.  That stubbornness of the Governor and Attorney General on ACA is costing this state big and they act like they are helping Oklahomans. Their lack of caring for citizens of this state unless it is a disaster is beyond disgusting.  Seems they love all the national exposure during disasters but day to day operation of the state -- not so much.
Governor Fallin continues to protect the oil and gas industry even when some of them are now saying the tax on horizontal drilling that was cut from 7% to 1% can now be increased.  It doesn't phase her at all.  Her budget along with her 'my way or no way' attitude has a lot of us stunned from the Mary Fallin we knew ten years ago.  
This email from Oklahoma Policy Institute says it all:
Dear Sharon: 
On Monday, Governor Fallin presented her FY 2015 Executive Budget, which included 5 percent budget cuts to most state agencies, some targeted spending increases, and a proposed cut in the top income tax rate. In a new blog post, we provide an in-depth analysis of the Governor's budget. 
Under Gov. Fallin's proposal, total FY 2015 appropriations would be $7.022 billion, which is $137 million, or 1.9 percent, less than the FY 2014 budget. Her recommended spending levels would require especially painful cuts to the Medicaid program and leave support for common education well below pre-downturn levels. The prospect of cuts to most areas of state government is especially worrisome because most agencies and schools have not fully climbed out of deep budget holes from the last recession. 
We write:
Agencies have already spent years cutting the fat and tightening their belts. Squeezing further is more likely to cut off their oxygen than to make them leaner and more efficient.  Oklahoma families and businesses will experience longer waiting lists for fewer services. Agencies tasked with ensuring our safety, education, and public health will depend on even more overworked and underpaid state employees, working out of poorly maintained facilities.
In this situation, the only responsible path is to put more revenue  on the table. Ending the $250 million tax break for horizontal drilling would be the most important and sensible step to take. Other options could  include tapping the Rainy Day Fund, ending the double deduction of state income taxes, expanding collections of online sales tax, tightening the Quality Jobs program, and modernizing the gas tax to pay for increased transportation funding. The state could  also ease the health care funding shortfall by accepting federal funds to expand insurance coverage, which would free up state-only dollars. 
And it should go without saying: more tax cuts are exactly the wrong priority. 
Please click here to read and share the full post.
Over time I have come to realize that Oklahoma Policy Institute is one of the best places in this State to get facts.  It is non-partisan so when they go after the Governor you can be sure she is on the wrong side of history.  Once again they are pointing out Oklahoma is ranking 50 of 50 states:

Oklahoma ranked last out of all fifty states for long-term budget planning, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. You can see the full report here and the Oklahoma fact sheet here.
A CBPP survey identified the degree to which states use the most effective tools to chart their fiscal course accurately and make corrections when needed. Oklahoma’s score of 3.0 out of 10 on this survey gave it a ranking of 50th among the states. 
How many more negative categories will Oklahoma be ranked near or at the bottom.  This is what you get when your state is ALEC owned and Republican dominated. How many years is it going to take Oklahoma to recover from a Hard Right Republican ALEC agenda?

Time to start turning Oklahoma Blue -- Republicans had their chance and tanked the state in favor of social issues.  Time to return Oklahoma to common sense and away from the 'my way or no way' mindset.

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