The Edmond Sun


May 11, 2013

Legislative session delivers pro-growth policies that move Oklahoma forward

OKLA. CITY — With a budget deal reached and a flurry of important legislation ready to be signed into law, it is clear that the 2013 legislative session will be a constructive, even historic, time for lawmakers.

On three major fronts, legislative leaders and I have made substantial progress on policies that will bring more good-paying, high-quality jobs to Oklahoma: reducing the state’s income tax, overhauling the workers’ compensation system and addressing the state’s long-term infrastructure needs.

Our income tax reduction plan lowers the state’s top tax rate by 0.25 percent, to 5 percent, starting in 2015, and lowers that rate even further, to 4.85 percent, the following year. Once fully realized, our tax cut will pump more than $200 million a year back into the private sector. It is a responsible, meaningful tax cut that will let Oklahoma families keep more of their hard-earned money while spurring job growth and business expansion in Oklahoma.

Additionally, the Legislature has worked with me to pass an overhaul of our workers’ compensation system. For decades, Oklahoma has had one of the most expensive and inefficient systems in the country, a constant obstacle for business owners looking to expand operations or create more jobs. Legislation passed this year will completely overhaul and replace that system, dramatically reducing costs to businesses while still treating injured workers fairly.

Finally, we have passed legislation to enact a long-term infrastructure plan to address the state’s many infrastructure needs, including repair and refurbishment of our crumbling state Capitol.

All of these are important reform efforts that will be complimented by this year’s budget deal, a smart, fiscally conservative blueprint for state spending that provides targeted increases in resources for priorities like education, healthcare, child welfare and infrastructure.

Delivering additional resources for education, in particular, continues to be a priority that is reflected in the budget-making process. Nothing is more important to Oklahoma’s long-term economic success than building a highly skilled, well-educated workforce, and that requires good schools.

To support and improve our public schools, this year’s budget agreement includes more than $120 million in increased education funding, money that will be used by K-12 schools to support reform efforts and increase classroom resources. The additional funds also will be used by universities and career technology centers to support the goal of awarding more college degrees and career readiness certificates.

The budget agreement also includes funding increases for mental health programs, Medicaid services, infant mortality reduction initiatives and a number of other priorities. It is, however, a plan that largely holds the line on spending growth, asking our state agencies to focus on increasing their productivity and operating more efficiently and effectively.

This year’s budget, coupled with a major income tax cut and other reforms, reflects a commitment to pro-growth, conservative policies that will build a stronger and more prosperous Oklahoma. The 2013 legislative session will be remembered as a remarkably productive season that will contribute significantly to our state’s economic growth and ever-improving quality of life.

GOV. MARY FALLIN, R-Edmond, may be reached via her website at


Text Only
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results