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State of the State Recap

State Impact-Oklahoma

As heard live on KWGS, Governor Fallin addresses a joint session of the Oklahoma legislature on the first day of the new session.

 Gov. Mary Fallin is asking lawmakers to approve a one-quarter of 1 percent cut to the state's top income tax rate.

In prepared remarks to the Oklahoma Legislature to begin the 2013 legislative session, Fallin in her State of the State address urged lawmakers to reduce the top rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent.

Fallin last year proposed sweeping changes to the state's tax code and a dramatic cut to the top rate of nearly 2 percent, but lawmakers balked at her proposal and ended up failing to pass any tax cut.

Fallin's office projects her proposal will cost the state $40 million in the first year and about $105 million annually when fully implemented.

The Governor is asking legislators for nearly $20 million in supplemental funding this year to begin repairs on the state Capitol and help pay for teacher benefits.

In her executive budget released on Monday, Fallin is asking lawmakers for $10 million to repair the exterior facade of the building and to pay for an engineering study that would include a price tag for a total renovation of the building.

Fallin also is requesting an $8.5 million supplemental for the State Department of Education to pay for the costs of the flexible benefit allowance for public school teachers and staff. The actual costs of those benefits have exceeded the projections that were available during the 2012 session.

Superintendent Janet Barresi had requested nearly $40 million in supplemental funding this year.

Fallin  says a proposal to expand the state's Medicaid program is "unaffordable."

Fallin made the remarks Monday during her State of the State remarks on the opening day of the Oklahoma Legislature's 2013 regular session.

The state has rejected President Barack Obama's proposal to expand its Medicaid program for low-income residents who do not have private health insurance. Fallin says a report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured says expanding the state's program would increase its Medicaid costs by $689 million between 2013 and 2022.

Fallin also says expanding Medicaid as proposed by the president would divert huge sums of state tax dollars from education, public safety and other priorities as well as existing health care programs.