While Washington D.C. politicians spend us into oblivion, Oklahoma leaders are displaying good fiscal discipline with their latest spending plan for the next fiscal year. President Pro Tempore of the Senate Greg Treat and Speaker of the House Charles McCall can take a bow for leading the Legislature with common sense and sound money management.
As the former chairmen of the senate finance committee, I am pleased to see that the general appropriations package did not spend all the certified revenue of $10.4 billion. The $9.8 billion budget left $500 million unspent to keep the state's savings balance near record highs of over $2 billion.
$698 million was invested from one-time carry-over funds into a new economic development fund to finance the Project Ocean incentive package, which will hopefully lead to thousands of jobs in the new transformative electric battery industry. That’s a terrific way to handle extra cash – invest in jobs! And, if the company, Panasonic, does not meet the agreement, we keep the money.
To jumpstart our urgent needs for more health care workers, $55 million was set up to get hundreds more nurses into higher education training and out into the workforce. As the father of a registered nurse, I hear quite often about the staffing problems which need this critical boost.
And as I like to remind people that Republicans like to fix things, state leaders decided to eliminate the Developmentally Disabled Services waiting list with a funding boost so that several thousand of our most vulnerable Oklahomans can get the services they desperately need. Turns out, in Oklahoma conservatives really do care about making people’s lives better! The rest of the nation should pay attention.