[Oklahoma City, OK, March 3, 2016] Republicans’ reckless tax cuts continue to bleed Oklahoma’s public education, healthcare, and public safety agencies dry with today’s announcement of an additional four percent across-the-board cut to agencies. Public education will receive the largest additional cut of $62.4 million, bringing the total since the start of the year to $109.2 million. With growing classroom sizes, abysmal teacher pay, and the elimination of programs and school days, how much more can Oklahoma’s teachers and students endure before Oklahoma says enough?
Instead of battling these real issues, Republican leaders, including Mary Fallin and Todd Lamb, are pushing to take even more money from public education through vouchers for private schools in urban areas while parents are still on the hook for a hefty portion of tuition and fees at those institutions that would have no public accountability.
Additionally, with the Republican-controlled legislature planning to kick over 110,000 Oklahomans off of SoonerCare, including 77,000 women, the additional cut to the Health Care Authority will result in many rural Oklahomans being cut off from reasonably-accessible health care services in their communities. Numerous rural hospitals have already cut services or shuttered their doors as a result of previous cuts and Governor Fallin’s refusal to accept Medicaid expansion, but that only seems to be the start.
The Oklahoma GOP continues to starve our state of vital core services through their mindless and irresponsible actions. The incompetence shown by Fallin, Lamb, and the rest of the Republican “leadership” is already costing this state new business and revenue and could now cost people their lives. Barely three months into the new year, and just one month into the legislative session, Oklahoma is well on track to end up in an even worse financial crisis than neighboring Kansas.
Oklahoma’s future is sinking and all Governor Fallin and legislative Republicans care to do is rearrange the deck chairs. It is far past time to halt additional tax cuts, cease discussion of elimination of tax breaks which directly benefit the middle-class as opposed to corporations, expand Medicaid, and get down to finding real solutions to these very real problems.
Photo copyright www.huffingtonpost.com