With just six weeks left in the 2015 legislative session, Governor Mary Fallin introduced her “Executive Budget 2.0” this week to the House and Senate. The legislature has failed to discuss any proposals or options as of yet to address the $1.3 billion budget hole which Governor Fallin, Speaker Hickman, and Secretary Doerflinger have created through inaction and a palpable desire to appease their friends and campaign contributors.
Not only has the Governor proposed a second set of budget “options” to the legislature after her first set of suggestions were rejected and ignored by legislators in her own party as unsustainable or outlandish, but she waited to hold a press conference at the same time as more than 30 educators were joining together at the Capitol to file for office and talk about Republicans’ disastrous public education policy.
“It was rather opportunistic for the Governor to hold a press conference, drawing media away from these candidates and their message, while she and her Republican leadership continues to get raked over the coals for the very issues that brought these teachers to file for legislative office in the first place. Her talk about supporting public education, teacher pay raises, and even the woes of shrinking access to rural healthcare, is a mockery of what is really going on within the Executive and Legislative branches of our state government,” said Sarah Baker, Communications Director for the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
“Nothing good has come from her leadership or that of the Republican legislature. It is troublesome to watch her stand in front of a room full of people and talk about “tough decisions” and “tightening our belts.” If we tighten the belt anymore, we’re going to lose our bottom half. Oklahoma Republicans, especially the Governor, continues to blame everyone else for what’s happening as they sit idly by, reciting tired talking points and failed rhetoric. There is nothing of substance coming from the Governor and the legislature knows this – even members of her own party.
“The Governor suddenly seems concerned with the crisis of public education and rural healthcare. Where was this outrage when more than 20,000 parents and educators showed up on the Capitol steps two years ago? Where was this outrage when leaders in her party chose to cut funding to education when oil was going for more than $100 a barrel? This fake outrage from Mary Fallin is timed perfectly to coincide with the fact that Democrats and educators are flocking to the Capitol to put their name on a ballot in hopes of shutting down the circus which has become our state government. The Governor’s crocodile tears over four-day school weeks and closing nursing homes are nothing more than a political ploy in an attempt to fool voters into thinking that Republicans, in an election year, care about the rest of us.
“Fallin isn’t worried about giving teacher pay raises or properly funding education. We know this because she, along with her entire party, continue to tell Oklahomans that educators are “whiney” and just keep asking for more. They give themselves a big pat on the back for flat funding proposals despite growing populations, then suggest that communities, and now even the state, borrow their way out of financial ruin – a plan which we can all agree is a horrible idea. And we hate to break it to the Governor, but it’s time she stop comparing managing a state with more than 3.8 million people to that of managing a household budget – this isn’t like giving up cable television and it’s time Republicans stop making that comparison. Instead, the Republicans insistence on extending corporate tax breaks and pushing through tax cuts in a budget shortfall is akin to quitting your job and blaming everyone else for not being able to pay your mortgage. This is about people’s lives and the future of Oklahoma and Governor Fallin has squandered it all away.
“We have news for Governor Fallin, Speaker Hickman, and the rest of the Republican ‘leadership’: Oklahomans are tired of your lunacy and Democrats are running for office to make necessary changes and put Oklahoma back on track.”