Gov. Mary Fallin talked to The Ada News last week about the state budget shortfall.
She put forth some seemingly common sense proposals to plug the $1 billion-plus hole in the state budget. They include raising the tax on cigarettes and modernizing the tax code to capture revenues from online transactions. Painful cuts are already slicing through state government — more seem on the way with estimates in some circles approaching a $1.3 billion shortfall.
This is, in fact, a state budget crisis.
What’s really required here are long-term fixes to the way the state budgets and collects revenues. In recent years, the state has used one-time revenue adjustments to fill holes here and there. This is just a patch job, though. The state needs to keep taxes low, get smart about how every single dollar is spent, cut back the lucrative tax breaks and simultaneously define fully what the state’s revenues really are — what can be depended on year after year — and then go out and match revenues with expenses.
This is a time for the Oklahoma Legislature and the governor to show bipartisan leadership and fix this problem once and for all. However, it appears the Legislature may not have the governor’s back. Fallin’s proposal to consolidate underperforming school administrations with other districts with successful records didn’t even make it out of committee this week. A Democratic legislator was quoted this week saying there was virtually no chance for a much-needed pay raise for teachers across the state.
But as politicians on both sides stake out their position, the hole in the budget keeps getting bigger….and bigger. It’s time for bipartisan compromise and long-term solutions regarding the state budget that may require political sacrifice on both sides, yet which are absolutely necessary.
The people of this state deserve nothing less.
Leading the way
The Ada News wants to congratulate the leadership and congregation of the Oakman Community Church.
If there was ever a story that serves as a good analogy for life, this one is it. The Ada News journalist Randy Mitchell documented in Saturday’s paper how an arsonist burned down the church in February 2015. Thankfully, the church was insured and the rebuilding process began. As the foundation was built, members of the congregation met in a shop building to keep the faithful life of the church going.
Many of us can likely relate to the thread found in this story. Have something great in life only to see it evaporate. In the face of hardship, persevere. Keep the faith. You will be renewed.
The Ada News thanks the Oakman Church for their leadership.