A Special Session is Our Second Chance

Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, wrote an open letter today to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and members of the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives, calling for a special session to address the funding crisis affecting core state services:

 

Aug. 10, 2017

 

Dear Governor Fallin and Oklahoma Legislators:

We don’t always get second chances, but when we do, we must take them.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling issued today declaring the increase in the cigarette tax unconstitutional gives you a second chance to go back to work and do what must be done for the future of Oklahoma.

The 2017 Legislative Session ended with a hastily constructed budget that failed to sufficiently fund core government services, including education. Last-minute stopgap measures plugged many holes, but it wasn’t the real solution Oklahomans sought.

Governor Fallin, you promised that you would not sign a budget without new revenue that would fund core government services. Lawmakers, you promised to serve the people of our state. A special session is a renewed opportunity to make good on your promises.

Governor, thank you for saying a special session must be convened. Legislators, many of you have agreed. Don’t squander this opportunity by making more cuts, or by simply filling the budget hole resulting from today’s decision. Make the most of this opportunity to make things right. Fix the structural problems with our budget. Restore the cuts to critical agencies serving our most vulnerable citizens. Invest in our classrooms to fund the education our students deserve.  Oklahomans deserve more than a state government held together with duct tape and bailing wire.

We need bipartisan, long-term solutions to the funding crisis facing our state.

The increase in the cigarette tax wouldn’t have directly benefited education, but funding of core government services helps all of us. Health care, education, roads, public safety — these issues touch all of us every day. The hundreds of thousands of children we teach in our classrooms have to live with the consequences of your decisions.

A special session can be your second chance. Please take it.

Sincerely,

Alicia Priest

President, Oklahoma Education Association


 

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