Questioning the “Real” State of the State

This week Governor Brad Henry appeared before the Oklahoma Legislature in what would be his final “State of the State” address. His speech was one of optimism, that Oklahoma would weather the current economic storm and come through stronger.

While eloquent, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association believes the speech lacked substance, and provided very few details on how Henry plans to achieve his goals.

“We have gone through the Governor’s budget line by line,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “He paints a rosy picture, but it’s not an accurate one. The real ‘state of the state’ is that we have a crumbling infrastructure. His budget outlines a plan for the next fiscal year, but it provides no details on how that plan would work.”

Throughout the next several weeks, the OPEA will address some of what we feel are the leading problems with the Governor’s budget. That includes:

*How the state will protect its most vulnerable citizens
*Why school administration review should be a top priority
*How agencies will operate with cuts as high as 17 percent
*Why the Governor believes agency consolidation will save money
*Why OPEA will fight cutting state employees salaries
*How common and higher education should not be spared cuts

“Our goal with this series of articles is not to place blame on the Governor, but to point out the deficiencies in his plan,” Zearley said. “Those deficiencies must be addressed now so the citizens of Oklahoma will know exactly what needs to be done in order to get through these next few years.”

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