Capitol Report for February 11: On Fallin’s State of the State – Applause for criminal justice reforms, disappointment in major tax hikes
In this week’s Capitol Report segment on News9, analyst Patrick B. McGuigan applauded Governor Mary Fallin’s proposed criminal justice reforms, which would give life to State Questions 780 and 781 – approved by voters in November – and advance prison reforms first enacted in 2012 but never implemented. McGuigan also cheered the governor’s proposal to end the state portion of the sales tax on groceries, and her “muted” endorsement of school choice.
However, McGuigan agreed with Jonathan Small (president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs – OCPA), who said the governor’s budget proposals in her State of the State address push “new tax increases on working families and entrepreneurs” in the form of massive new sales taxes.
McGuigan pointed out that Fallin’s new approach to governance does not end ineffective business subsidies, does not implement Medicaid reforms, does not end administrative inefficiencies in common and higher education, does not implement fully envisioned public employee health insurance reforms, and leaves untouched the comparatively “cash rich” CareerTech system and the billion-dollar accumulated funds in the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET).
In dialogue with Alex Cameron, reporter for the CBS News affiliate in Oklahoma City, McGuigan concluded that Fallin at the state level had accomplished less in six years than Ronald Reagan achieved at the federal level in just two years.