Friday, March 2, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today thanked lawmakers for quickly acting on proposals outlined in her State of the State address and in her executive budget, presented at the start of the legislative session. Fallin had outlined proposals to cut the state income tax, modernize state government, increase energy efficiency in government, improve the state’s bridges and highways, and provide better access to medical care in rural and underserved areas. She also proposed emergency funding measures in areas that include public safety, education and natural disaster relief. All of these proposals have now been heard and passed out of their respective legislative committees.
“Oklahomans want their elected officials to focus on legislation that will help to create jobs, improve their quality of life and reduce government waste,” Fallin said. “I’m happy to say that’s exactly what our lawmakers are doing.”
“The Oklahoma Tax Reduction and Simplification Act, for example, is an important measure that will improve our economy and allow Oklahoma families to keep more of their hard-earned money. I am glad that measure is making steady progress in the legislature, along with many other important items. It’s important that we keep our foot on the gas pedal and continue to work to ensure that 2012 is as productive and historic a legislative session as last year’s was.”
Measures proposed by Governor Fallin in her State of the State Address and passed at a committee level are listed below.
• The Oklahoma Tax Reduction and Simplification Act
o HB 3061; authored by House Speaker Kris Steele and Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman: This bill provides over $300 million in yearly income tax cuts to Oklahomans, reorganizes and simplifies the tax code, eliminates many tax credits and deductions, and gradually phases out the state income tax. Click here for more information.
• Energy Efficiency:
o HB 2833 / SB 1096: authored by Rep. Scott Martin and Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman: Promotes taxpayer savings and energy efficiency by requiring all state agencies and institutions of higher education and career technology centers to participate in an energy savings program that reduces energy consumption by 20% by the year 2020. Projected savings are estimated at $300 to $500 million dollars (HB 2833 has passed in committee and on House floor).
• Government Modernization:
o HB 3053; authored by Rep. Kris Steele and Sen. Kim David: A government modernization and consolidation measure that will save taxpayer dollars and streamline government services by combining several agencies into the Office of Enterprise and Management Services, formerly the Office of State Finance.
o HB 2248 / SB 1642 and HB 2249/SB 1643; authored by Rep. T.W. Shannon and Sen. Bryce Marlatt: Makes statutory changes increasing the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) fund and the County Improvement for Roads and Bridges (CIRB) fund as part of Governor Fallin’s Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan, which will eliminate all currently identified structurally deficient highway bridges by the year 2019.
• Reducing Physician Shortages:
o HB 3058/SB 1280; authored by House Speaker Kris Steele and Senator Mike Schulz: In order to increase access to medical care, includes funding for residency slots in five hospitals located in rural and underserved areas.
• Combating Obesity:
o SB 1882; authored by Sen. Greg Treat and Rep. Fred Jordan: Removes liability concerns for schools that open their exercise and sports facilities to the public.
• Supplemental Funding Measures:
o SB 1959; authored by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears: Includes emergency funding provisions for natural disaster assistance to local communities, counties and other qualified entities ($34.1 million); insurance benefits for teachers and support staff ($37.6 million); a trooper academy for the Department of Public Safety ($5 million); personnel and equipment for the State Medical Examiner’s Office ($1 million); and funding for teacher National Board Certification bonuses ($14.8 million). This measure has been passed in both the House and Senate appropriations committees as well as the full Senate.