FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 10, 2017
Save Our State Coalition Calls for Special Session to Fix Budget
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Save Our State (SOS) coalition — a group of more than 20 statewide organizations ranging from teachers, parents, public employees, public and mental health advocates, and communities of faith — is calling on the governor to convene a special session of the Legislature to fix the state budget.
The State Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a $1.50-per-pack cigarette “fee” passed by lawmakers this May was unconstitutional, yanking an estimated $214 million from the already anemic state budget.
The coalition released the following statement:
“This ruling confirms that the Legislature did not complete its job this year of crafting a balanced budget that pays for the core services Oklahomans expect and need. Governor Fallin shouldn’t wait a single minute to call a special session and instruct the Legislature to find additional revenue, fix the broken budget, undo cuts to core services, and invest in education.”
The SOS Coalition has issued a blue-print for a better budget that does just that, and the organization urges lawmakers to take it seriously. The budget blueprint is available at SaveOurStateOK.org.
“Countless Oklahomans whose lives depend on state services are waiting for our Legislature to do the right thing. If the Legislature does not find new revenues to replace those rejected by the Court, the consequences will be unimaginable cuts to health care and other protections for our state’s most vulnerable residents — with the greatest harm on children, seniors, and people with severe disabilities,” the coalition said.
Members of SOS Coalition organizations are available for interviews, including:
– David Blatt, executive director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank based in Tulsa — (918) 794-3944
– Amber England, executive director of Stand for Children Oklahoma, an education advocacy nonprofit — (405) 772-1013
– Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, the largest teachers’ organization in Oklahoma — (405) 528-7785
– Sterling Zearley, executive director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, an organization representing state employees — (405) 524-6764
– Andy Moore, executive director of Let’s Fix This, a nonpartisan nonprofit that helps Oklahomans become involved with their government — (405) 361-2027
Interviews and photos of additional coalition member organizations and their leaders are available.