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Collectively Calling on Oklahoma to Fix Its Budget Woes: The Save Our State Coalition

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Aired on Tuesday, April 25th.

What's to be done regarding the troubling condition of Oklahoma's budget? Lawmakers in OKC have only about a month left to address this serious budget shortfall in the 2017 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, and fixing what Gov. Fallin has recently called "the state's structural budget deficit" seems less and less likely. Therefore, about two dozen nonprofit and professional organizations from across the state have formed the so-called Save Our State Coalition. Our guest is David Blatt, executive director of the OK Policy Institute, which is a member of this coalition. As noted in this regard at the OK Policy website: "We can’t wait another year to fix this. Our schools have already seen funding cuts larger than any other state, and they are struggling to keep class sizes down, to keep well-qualified teachers, or even to keep their doors open five days a week. Nursing homes, rural hospitals, and county health departments are looking at shutting down or cutting back on crucial health services. We could see shuttered state parks, furloughed state troopers, and other deep cuts to basic services for Oklahomans. Without budget reforms this year, revenues may plunge to an all-time low compared to what our communities need to thrive and what Oklahomans expect. That is why the Save Our State Coalition has united behind the Blueprint for a Better Budget, a sensible plan that will: 1) Place Oklahoma on a sustainable path by getting away from one-time revenues and budget gimmicks; 2) Prevent drastic cuts to state services; and 3) Invest in core government services like education, public safety, healthcare, and transportation."

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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