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Reporting | Nehemiah D. Frank, Editor-in-chief
Managing Editor | Liz Frank
State Representative Regina Goodwin says the state is having trouble deciding where to allocate funds, which makes it difficult to solve issues with DHS and Oklahoma’s school budget crisis, which is places the state last in country in education funding.
Goodwin stressed that constituents should not be deceived into thinking that the the $38 million DHS funding was restored. $38 million was cut from DHS last year and though $38 million has been allocated this year, with no additional funding, which means no real progress with the state’s budget crisis.
Goodwin stressed the need for constituents to notice the coded language the legislature uses when communicating with the public.
The Oklahoma Care Giver Act has been effected by the funding cuts. Caregivers once received $400 a month to take care of their loved ones, or to hire someone to take care of elderly family members, which has been reduced to $380.
Goodwin is working on a grant of around $1 million to supplement and enhance constituents ability to to care of their elderly family members.
The grant would provide $200 to $250 in addition to the $380 currently provided for more quality care for elderly constituents.
If the grant goes through care givers would be allocated around $630 per month to take care of their family members.
Oklahoma has historically been ahead of other states when it comes to caregiver-ship, klahoma is one of 34 states that is eligible to receive the grant.
Oklahoma is dead last when it comes to funding education.
The last time Oklahoma’s teachers received a raise was in 2008, which was $600 per teacher.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. I can’t even think of a word other than it’s just wicked. That we would go through a session where Republicans and Democrats were talking about ‘Hey, we’re going to give our teachers a raise and it did not happen.’ We only have 26 Democrats in the house we [Republicans] have a super majority and it’s very hard to move the needle,”
– Representative Regina Goodwin
Goodwin says some of the energy corporations are to blame because they aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. Some of the oil and gas companies have paid state tax rates as low as one percent. The companies are currently paying seven percent.
According to Goodwin, the legislature needs to increase the Gross Production Tax on big Oil and Gas to increase the education coffers.
Even former Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, a Republican, lobbied for seven percent taxes because bordering states such as Texas are taxing at 13 percent. The State of Texas has received the largest number of emigrated Oklahoma teachers.
“Harold Ham is over the oil and gas industry that Oklahomans are beholden to. Ham did not want a GPT increase. We could have seen an influx of $500 million. Our teachers only need $300 million to give every Oklahoma teacher a raise and increase,”
– Representative Regina Goodwin