Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Oklahoma Legislature protects rich, oil companies, not education or health
Despite all the hoopla building up to the Oklahoma Legislature passing a last-minute budget (with $1.3B less than they had last year), conservative politicians are glossing over the cuts to education and health with pretty words and double-speak. Even the media outlets can't agree on how to spin the bad news. For example, NewsOK.com reports that flat funding for education was maintained for common education, the Department of Corrections (which needs more education) and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, but KFOR (NBC affiliate in OKC) states:
"The State Department of Education‘s budget actually increased for the upcoming fiscal year when you compare it to the budget that was imposed after cuts were made at the end of this fiscal year."
Nice spin, guys!
But Dr. Kurt Hochenauer of UCO reminds us that teachers did not get a pay raise and many of them have been laid off because of the budget cuts. Higher education's budget has been slashed dramatically by 15.9%. I suppose if we keep the K-12 students dumb enough, there won't be any need to have higher education, is that how it works, OKC?
Look at the budget agreement summary. Do you see any tax increases for the wealthy or oil companies? No. How about tax credit elimination for the families who need it? Yes!