Making (Up) the Grade
After reading that Governor Fallin and the legislature have given themselves an A for the recently ended session, I had to wonder what criteria they used to reach this assessment. It appears that this grade has nothing to do with repairing Oklahoma’s crumbling roads and bridges or restoring funding to education. It has everything to do with tax cuts that will mean nothing to middle class families and won’t even take effect until after the next elections. Oh, and with turning workers compensation into an administrative system. They failed to pass pension reform. And they gave away Oklahoma’s share of Obamacare to other states.
Interestingly, the State Treasurer’s office released a newsletter allowing for several individuals to rate the session and write explanations. I predictably agree with David Blatt’s grade of a D:
This session was marked by multiple triumphs of ideology over common sense. The Legislature rejected several reasonable options to extend health insurance to 150,000 of the poorest, unhealthiest members of our community, and instead made it likely that Insure Oklahoma participants will lose coverage this year. It approved a tax cut that will primarily benefit those who need help the least while avoiding serious tax reform measures to address our growing fiscal gap. And it diverted money that could have gone to education to pay upfront for Capitol repairs, rather than issue bonds at historically low rates.
From this blog’s perspective, it’s unconscionable that the state saw record revenues but still hasn’t restored education funding to 2008 levels. Meanwhile, policy-makers continue to make it difficult for districts to raise money locally. And federal revenues are slipping.
All the lip service in the world doesn’t help public schools or the families they serve.
It also doesn’t get you an A.