By Trevor Brown, Ben Botkin, Paul Monies, Jennifer Palmer, Jeff Raymond and David Fritze
In her eighth and final State of the State address Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin made no bones about her central point: Pass the Step Up Oklahoma plan proposed by business and civic leaders.
Her address was shorter than previous ones, and much of it was devoted to budget issues, which have consumed the time and passions of people occupying the 149 House and Senate seats and untold numbers of Oklahomans in recent years.
Fallin, who is term-limited, presented her case as virtually a do-or-die moment in state history.
“Our state is at a crossroads,” she said. “The actions we take will be a game-changer. It is time to decide which future we want our families and children to have.”
As business and political leaders have suggested, Fallin indicated that the decision about the Step Up Oklahoma proposal would likely be made soon. Whether legislators oblige and resolve differences to pass a version of the plan is unknown. The pressure is on, but their own convictions and constituent leanings – and an election year – are also factors.
As part of the State of the State day, Fallin unveiled her proposed fiscal-2019 appropriated budget, totaling nearly $7.3 billion, and representing a 6.3 percent increase over the current year. Eleven agencies would get increases and the rest would stay flat. Among agencies with proposed increases are the departments of Transportation, 35.6 percent; Education, 12.8 percent; Mental Health, 7.6 percent; Human Services, 2.4 percent; and Corrections, 2.2 percent.
Fallin’s written address below, with some changes to reflect what was actually spoken, is annotated by Oklahoma Watch writers to provide context and analysis. Click or tap a section highlighted in yellow to read an annotation.