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The grand state of Oklahoma has grand budget cuts, yet again

Oklahoma representatives decide the future of the state's finances.

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Oklahoma representatives decide the future of the state's finances.

Ainsley Martinez, North Staff Writer

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Broadway portrayed Oklahoma of having wind right behind the rain, and frankly the financial climate of the state brings no exception. The arising storm of budget cuts has been in the making- lawmakers have searched to find a solution at the capital for months. What started as a national uproar of the state’s educational funds, or lack of funds, transformed into a massacre of essential programs. Due to the state’s massive debt, Oklahoma has been degraded by budget cuts.

Before considering reductions in expenses, lawmakers discussed a tax increase on cigarettes. But the $1.50 expansion of a pack of cigarettes was considered “unconstitutional” and the tax growth initiative for state budgeting was then abandoned. This decision made significant programs, such as the Department of Human Services, have monumental budget cuts.

Child welfare services, homeless programs, disability and elderly services and education have also been in consideration for enormous cutbacks. So how did the deadly materials of nicotine and chemicals win against programs sustaining human lives and needs? It seems paradoxical that the constitution is behind the argument as the government publicly stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness- but even morals isn’t just the issue. Although the cigarette fee would bring in 215 million dollars, the revenue will be enacted later than originally proposed.

This crisis of needing money now will inhibit these programs immediately- causing new problems that will need to be fixed. Sadly, it will become a cycle if Oklahoma does not accept reality. The truth is that the state can not depend on the oil industry anymore, due to recent innovations and decelerating resources. If Oklahoma representatives extend the production of fossil fuels and don’t succeed in an alternate plan, more debt and reduction in budgeting will occur. The federal government’s perspective on deregulation in fossil fuel industry does not alleviate the economic and environmental issues at rise.

Oklahoma representatives are still discussing the matter, but with DHS already losing 69 million dollars, it’s not looking good for the state. Oklahoma citizens can not pretend that this is still the oil boom of 1901- at least for the sake of state programs that are already not thriving. Curly McLain said in the 1904 based Oklahoma! Musical, “You’re doing fine Oklahoma”- but in 2017 it’s a different story. Oklahoma is not doing fine; at least not right now. Please contact an Oklahoma senator if concerned on issue involving the state.

For any questions or concerns email [email protected]

 

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