The Oklahoma mental health community delivered a press conference on Wednesday, October 18th that shook the state. If our legislators don’t act soon, many clinics will close, people will lose access to treatment, and Oklahomans will get furloughed or lose their jobs. We knew this could be coming, but many of our friends and neighbors didn’t.
The good news is that there seems to be a groundswell of support for showing up to stop this catastrophe, fund our schools, fund child abuse prevention, invest in senior nutrition, and save all the other services we’re about to cut.
The bad news is that our legislature still seems to be stuck without a plan, or at least without a plan that the House leadership is willing to put up for a vote.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Come to the Capitol beginning next week on Tuesday, October 24th and continuing as long as legislators are there! On Tuesday meet us at 9 am, on the Senate side of the 5th floor balcony, to get your Together Oklahoma name tag and to talk strategy. At 10am we’ll go down to the 4th floor rotunda to join our friends from the Oklahoma Mental Health Association.
2. Call your legislators’ offices, and ask others to make calls too. We are still calling our fellow Oklahomans all over the state to give them this info, because social media and emails like this one aren’t enough to reach ALL the people who should be taking action. Help us make calls by signing up here!
If you’re unsure of what to say, here’s an example script:
“Senator/Representative ______ thank you for your time. I know you are working on getting a new budget together and I’m visiting/calling to implore you to do everything in your power to get it right! These cuts have to stop! We have good solutions like restoring the GPT to historic levels, voting for a new income tax on wealthy Oklahomans, increasing the cigarette and gas tax and many others. Anything less than a comprehensive revenue deal leaves Oklahoma vulnerable with kids under-educated, mental illness untreated, and seniors who have worked their whole lives going hungry. This is not the Oklahoma I believe in and I don’t think it is what you’d call the “Oklahoma standard” either. What are you going to do to fix this budget? Who else do you want me to talk to in order to make sure we get a good budget passed this week? I am taking notes, watching votes, and I’m going to follow up with you, so please help me help you.”
Oklahomans all around you are waking up to the disasters that will happen if our legislature doesn’t act! Help your neighbors get this information and #SaveOurStateOK!
Update: On Monday, October 23rd legislators announced another inadequate budget option. Oklahoma’s structural budget problems will not be solved while lawmakers insist on asking nothing from the wealthiest households and most profitable businesses in our state. This proposal simply continues the political grandstanding that has prevented the obvious, popular, and fair solution preferred by a large majority of Oklahomans. More on that at OK Policy’s official statement here.