The Norman Transcript

Opinion

April 12, 2014

Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Again this year, Fallin and the legislature have told these hard-working, underpaid state employees to wait another year for a well-deserved pay raise. Apparently, waiting eight years is not long enough.

Should I consider it strange that this Texas soothsayer failed to mention that his “champion,” Fallin, turned down $54 million in federal money (really, our tax money, anyway) that would have provided health care for more than 144,000 Oklahomans, which would also include about 120,000 people suffering from mental illness?

Fallin then spent an additional $500,000 of our tax money to ask for advice from a Republican friend, who said take the federal money. Therefore, she wasted an additional half-million of our dollars that could have gone to education or other good uses.

I’m sure that to the residents of Purcell, Lexington and other area towns who are affected by the closed bridge between those two towns, the claim of instituting a “most aggressive plan to replace structurally unsound bridges” is a little insulting. By continuing to cut income for the state, Fallin has put off, for far too long, the much needed improvement to our roads, bridges and highways, including turnpikes.

Now that the James Nance Bridge issue is front and center, the governor is making an attempt to patch the bridge but knows that the real solution is to replace the aging structure that was built in 1938. Unfortunately, the current replacement cost estimate is about $55 million and would be put off for about another eight years, long after Fallin leaves office.

Since the Texas legislator claims to know so much about Oklahoma politics, I can’t help but wonder why he did not mention the fact that Fallin and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi concluded that it best served Oklahomans with disabilities to close the small agency that dealt with those issues, the Assistive Technology Agency. Even after it offered two different budgets with large funding cuts, the agency was closed down, leaving those in need without an alternative. 

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