The Norman Transcript

January 24, 2014

Long shot at state funding

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma mental health consumers may be at the end of the line for treatment paid for by the state. State officials say they need $21 million in additional dollars to continue treating patients in need of mental health services.

In a season when the legislature is looking at having $171 million less to appropriate and the governor is asking for a cut in the state’s income tax rate, it’s not likely to happen. This is despite the impassioned pleas of Terri White, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Mental health consumers don’t have the kind of constituent lobby it takes to be put at the top of the list.

Corrections is in the same boat. They’ve sounded the alarm for additional pay for workers and prison beds, but their lobby is minimal at best. Some former wardens warn that conditions are ripe for a crisis in corrections, with an event as significant as the 1973 prison riot in McAlester.

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