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Mazzei Minute: 05/17/24

One public budget summit after another down at the State Capitol with little progress to show for all the time and effort. But, I still love the attempt at transparency and believe that the good people in the Senate, House and Governor’s office will eventually finalize a deal, just like they always do.

However, will the final budget package do anything transformative to move the needle when it comes to increasing our kids’ proficiency in reading or helping Oklahoma become a top ten job growth state? The answer is “no,” unfortunately.

Spending money on core government services, which are still important, does not challenge the status quo of dysfunctional systems in education or an antiquated tax code which belabors a competitive disadvantage for the Oklahoma economy. Rather, government spending in and of itself perpetuates these problems.

Only major policy shifts, such as mandated changes for a new educational paradigm and a new small business job growth strategy, will bring about the growth and prosperity that Oklahomans need and deserve. These major transformations require an enormous amount of leadership, deliberation, debate, consensus building, compromises, and execution.  

For these reasons, it is likely time for the state of Oklahoma to move to a biennial budget program. The decisions about how to spend money take up so much time, energy and conflict every legislative session that there is often no oxygen left for the critical policy discussions needed for major transformational reforms. A biennial budget would leave an entire legislative session every other year for just policy discussions.

When only 20% of Oklahoma 8th graders can read proficiently and Oklahoma’s job and population growth still need some big boosts, let’s give the governor and legislators more time to work on transformational changes and less time to spend taxpayer dollars.


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