Gov. Stitt's 1st State Of The State Address: 'I Ask You To Join Me In Reimagining'
Oklahomans were asked to reimagine when Gov. Kevin Stitt offered his vision for Oklahoma's future during his first State of the State address on Monday.
Stitt presented his first state budget and asked Oklahomans to "join me in reimagining."
During his first State of the State address, Stitt focused on reform for state government, education funding, criminal justice reform and funding the state's rainy day fund.
These are part of his plan to turnaround the state's direction and to make Oklahoma a top 10 state.
"Today, as I present my first budget, I ask you to join me in reimagining. Today, as we consider the state of our state, Oklahomans are presented with revenue growth of potentially $600 million, a 3.6 percent unemployment rate, rising wages and a spirit of optimism," Stitt said. "The government does not create wealth, only the private sector can. In my administration, every policy decision will promote a healthy economy."
Stitt also asked Oklahomans to reimagine state government so Oklahoma taxpayers are the primary focus. With this vision, Stitt said he has placed a special emphasis on the digital transformation of state agencies.
"It is time for an online dashboard where you can monitor my administration’s progress on performance metrics we will set for delivering state services," he said.
Stitt said he is committed to public education and the need to invest in the classroom.
While the earlier reforms and investment helped, it is not enough to make Oklahoma's education system truly competitive.
"State government cannot fix education’s funding needs alone. We must stand arm-in-arm with communities, cities, and counties. Oklahoma is stronger when we are all working together," Stitt said.
Stitt asked for funding in helping non-violent offenders assimilate back into society.
"To move the needle (for criminal justice reform), it will require us to change the way we see the person who is in a cycle of incarceration for non-violent crimes," Stitt said.
For economic growth, Stitt said his administration would do what it could to grow Oklahoma and diversify the state's economy.
"In order to make our efforts in state government sustainable, we must first grow Oklahoma. We need more taxpayers, not more taxes," Stitt said.
Stitt also stressed the importance of adding more funds the state's rainy day fund so its balance is a minimum of $1 billion.