Who can fix the budget mess?

Photo from Marc Dalmulder / CC BY 2.0
Photo from Marc Dalmulder / CC BY 2.0

There’s just seven weeks left in the legislative session — seven weeks left to do something about a budget crisis that could be an unprecedented disaster for Oklahoma.

So what do we know?

  • We know we didn’t end up in this budget crater overnight.
  • It’s not all because of low gas prices. (Remember this headline from two years ago:“Oklahoma faces budget crisis despite economic boom”.)
  • Bad policy choices helped put us in this situation, and better choices can get us out!
  • We need our legislators to stop twiddling their thumbs and #DoSomethingOK!

A new report from Oklahoma Policy Institute shares 16 revenue options that lawmakers can use to prevent crippling cuts to schools, health care, and other key services.

It’s become clear that the question motivating many of our lawmakers is this: What’s more “politically risky”? To raise taxes and curtail tax breaks to find new revenue? Or to support the massive cuts to public services that not finding this revenue would mean?

Yep, you read that right.

In an election year, some of our legislators are worried that doing anything that can be called “raising taxes” would lose more votes than laying off teachers, allowing small businesses that provide in-home care to low-income seniors to fail, and taking health care from struggling families. WE don’t believe that’s true, but there’s work to be done to make many of our lawmakers know that we want them to #DoSomethingOK.

So what can you do right now?

  • Read up on Oklahoma’s revenue options — you don’t have to agree with all of them, but we can all find some to endorse.
  • Tell your two legislators: ” I know Oklahoma has options to find revenue, and I will hold you accountable if legislators don’t use those options.” (Talking Points HERE)
  • Bring your friends into the Campaign for a Better Budget so they can influence their two state legislators too. (Because legislators listen to their OWN constituents.)
  • Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #DoSomethingOK.

You can do all of these things as an individual in partnership with a local non-profit. Yep, non-profits can and should lobby and if you want to know more about how check here.

These vital decisions about Oklahoma’s budget will be made long before the next election. We can’t afford to wait!