NORMAN — Let me make something very clear at the very beginning: I served with then-state-representative and now-Gov. Mary Fallin for a number of years when we both were in the legislature. I liked her then and like her personally today. She was and is a pleasant, dedicated career politician and a very successful campaigner.
She was a moderate Republican legislator who seemed to vote policy first, politics second. However, apparently her political leanings have changed dramatically. To put it bluntly, she has been an awful chief executive of our state.
Clearly, based on her policies and initiatives, Fallin’s top objective during her first term as governor has been to make sure no Republican challenger would be able to attack her for not being conservative enough. And she really worked at it.
How otherwise to explain the deepest cuts found in the nation in funding for public schools (22.8 percent cut in a system where 95 percent of our kids are enrolled); a huge drop in the state’s share of financial support for higher education plummeting from 30 percent six years ago, now moving toward 11 percent in 2014; and endless and, thankfully, so far, futile efforts to cut our state’s already very modest tax base. We were seventh lowest nationally in 2012.
Her personal income tax reductions are ill-conceived and unnecessary in an already very friendly environment to do business. Additionally, the governor’s 2013 tax hoax, just struck down unanimously by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, with the opinion written by a Republican appointee, would have rewarded a family of four with an annual income of $40,000, a whopping tax cut of 35 cents a day in 2016.
Besides ignoring our aforementioned educators, Fallin stiffed public employees by ordering a “study” of their salaries, a classic dodge, while she gave generous pay raises to her own staff.