OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin laid out her vision for the state of Oklahoma Monday by giving her 2014 State of the State address to the state Legislature.
The governor called for using bond money to repair the state Capitol, cutting taxes, better efficiency among state agencies, job creation, support for education, the Justice Reinvestment Act, school safety and resisting federal intrusion when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.
State government should not plunge the U.S. further into debt or place Oklahoma on a fiscally unsustainable path by expanding Medicaid, Fallin said. Oklahoma will not be led by Washington, D.C., in the wrong direction, she said.
“Washington has taken every opportunity to raise your taxes,” Fallin said. “We should take every opportunity to lower them.”
People invest in business and spend dollars in the economy to create Oklahoma jobs when tax cuts are made, Fallin said. She called for an income tax reduction that will return $100 million to the state’s economy. Fallin called for a one-quarter of a cent cut in state income taxes.
“Lets take this opportunity to show the country that lower taxes and limited government do work,” Fallin said. “We believe in them for a reason. The Oklahoma way and not the Washington way is the best way to support economic growth and help the middle class, Oklahomans and Americans.”
Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said the $7 billion budget contains $71 million in budget cuts. Cuts would include $47.7 million from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and $49.4 million from the Regents for Higher Education.
In response to the budget released by the state, University of Oklahoma President Boren released a statement.
“This budget will be very damaging to the future of our state if it is not modified in the weeks ahead. How can we afford another tax cut when we are already shortchanging the education of our children and grandchildren? Failure to adequately support higher education and all of education will discourage the creation of new jobs and investments in our state. Investors are looking for a highly-educated and trained work force. It is a tragic mistake to invest less per student in education than is being invested in surrounding states.”