Fallin Lays Out Plan For Oklahoma In 5th State Of The State Address

Monday, February 2nd 2015, 4:32 pm
By: Karl Torp

Gov. Mary Fallin laid out her plan for Oklahoma in her annual State of the State address; the fifth one she has delivered as Governor of Oklahoma.

Fallin pointed out area out areas that need to improve and why the state has been forced to make tough budget choices.

The Governor's promises started with academic achievement, with goals of increasing the number of college degrees in the state.

“If we don't address the skills gap, those jobs will go elsewhere,” said Fallin.

Overcrowded Prisons are another priority. Fallin said she wants to reduce the prison population in Oklahoma by 10% by 2025.

"It costs the state around $19,000 a year to house an inmate, but only $5,000 to send an addict to drug court and treatment,” cited Fallin during her speech.

2/2/2015 Related Story: Gov. Fallin Delivers State Of The State Address

Improving the Health of Oklahomans also ranks high, with one goal of decreasing heart disease by 25%. But Challenges are clear with the state facing a budget shortfall around $300 million.

Fallin's plan includes using money already in state agency saving accounts to make up for the lost millions, but there's opposition.

“When you take that savings account, something is going to fail when you are taking that money. But I think it's unconstitutional for her to take it,” said Rep. Mike Shelton, (D - Dist. 97 OKC).

Lawmakers on both sides of aisle have found common ground when it comes to tax credits and incentives; one reason behind the budget shortfall.

The Governor thinks every single one needs to be reviewed to see if the state is getting enough bang for its buck.

“Let's work together to take a fresh look at the budget process and relook how to allocate tax payer dollars,” said Fallin.