Diving Deeper into ‘State of the State’ Address

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In her “State of the State” address on Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin called for shortened prison sentences, higher taxes on cigarettes and a $3,000 a year pay hike for all teachers.

Fallin also proposed for fiscal 2017 a 6-percent cut for most state agencies, with certain exceptions, and generating more revenue by eliminating some of the $8 billion in annual sales tax exemptions. Fallin’s proposals come amid a budget crisis in which the state must offset a nearly $1 billion budget hole caused mainly by a plunge in oil prices. Income tax cuts have contributed to the revenue drop.

Within the text of her written speech, Oklahoma Watch writers offer annotations with context and more details (below). Click on or tap a highlighted passage to see the notes,which were written by Nate Robson, Warren Vieth and Clifton Adcock.

  • Lloyd Haskins

    It is interesting to me that we have a great concern only for education, which is a politically popular subject. The entire state budget is over $25 billion when federal revenue is included. Education receives about $8 billion of this funding.

    Government, including education, never has enough money to do all the things they want to do and will never have adequate funding. We use averages to support a position, but do not include cost of living in other states, average per capita or family income of other states. We always expend new funding on wages and salaries as if applying enough money will make the problems go away.

    We must compete with other states for jobs and economic growth. Many of our cities have increased sales taxes close to 10%. This makes them close to the highest in the nation. This is not allowing them to obtain new jobs and economic growth for the graduates of our colleges, high schools and vo-tech schools.

    We need to look much deeper into our financial status then just one area – as we have been doing – in entering a new legislative session.



  • My question was never answered by Commissioner White at the event last week. There are ways to cut down the max billing hours of 25 allowed by law down to 12.5 maximum a month per patient and the budget could save millions. No therapist should be billing to see a patient for 25 hours a month. The private therapists are maxed out at 90 minutes a week at the most. I feel that Terri White is trying to monopolize the private agencies and not allow private practicing therapists to continue doing their great work in fear that the private therapists are doing such great work. We have data to prove that children who see private therapists in our HALO Project at Angels are out of therapy in under 10 months or less. Children who go to agencies for help are in therapy for up to 5 or more years. It is hard to justify a cut by DMH to private therapists when our data is what our state needs. This is the same as cutting out any private MD’s just because they are not with a large agency like Integris. I think by taking away people’s right to choose, the state will be in for a very large law suit.