Even though budget talks continue behind the scenes, it seems that state leaders are far apart in finding ways to manage the current $1.3 billion budget shortfall for fiscal year 2017. While some call for changes including revenue increases, others deny more revenue is needed and say agencies can still cut more services. Some are working to protect pet projects and keep special interest tax breaks in place.
One thing is very apparent; Oklahoma’s state agencies providing core services cannot take more cuts, in addition to reductions they have already made this year, without compromising the services they provide. The ability for agencies to provide assistance to Oklahoma families, communities and businesses will be jeopardized by additional cuts.
The Oklahoma Public Employees Association wants to be very clear in stating that there should be no more reductions to state agency budgets this year or next. There are budget options available to lawmakers that would prevent additional agency cuts. Lawmakers can fill this budget hole if they have the political courage to do so. A 2017 budget must be crafted that does not further harm state services.
Lawmakers only have six weeks to pass a budget or they will have to call a special session which will cost more money. We urge all state employees, retirees and to call or email their legislators today and tell them “No More Cuts” to state agencies. It is as simple as that. Tell them:
- State agencies can’t take more cuts without jeopardizing services
- The final budget must have new revenue to fund Oklahoma’s services. Several proposals are being considered.
- Please talk to your fellow legislators who are working on the budget and tell them not to cut services but raise revenue instead
If you have questions or concerns or need assistance finding your lawmakers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the OPEA office at (405) 524-6764.