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OKG Newsletter


Letters to the Editor
 

LETTERS


Our federal tax dollars wasted?

Wanda Jo Stapleton April 1st, 2014

Vital information could be provided on billboards at one or more of the entrances to Oklahoma. These billboards could say, “Welcome to Oklahoma, where Gov. Mary Fallin is denying Medicaid to 131,000 Oklahomans.”

According to Oklahoma Policy Institute, Fallin has refused to expand Medicaid coverage to 131,000 lowincome Oklahomans. She said no to federal government funding for 100 percent of Oklahomans’ expanded coverage for the first three years, which would have been followed by a gradual reduction of cost coverage to 90 percent by 2020 and thereafter.

Since Fallin has passed up an offer like this, we Oklahomans continue paying federal taxes, but our tax money will go to pay for health care in other states. That tax money will amount to almost $1.3 million by 2022, according to The Huffington Post.

Oklahomans get sicker, die sooner and go without much-needed health care at some of the highest rates in the nation. Those without health insurance hold off going to the doctor when they get sick. Instead, they wait until they are so bad they end up in the emergency room, which is enormously expensive for us taxpayers.

So Fallin’s ruthless refusal to expand Medicaid is both economically and morally wrong. What would she say if she had to face low-income Oklahomans whose lives are so affected by not having health care coverage?

— Wanda Jo Stapleton
Oklahoma City
Stapleton is a former Democratic state representative.

There she goes again
Oklahoma faces a huge $171 million shortfall in state funding, but Gov. Fallin is urging an “over $100 million” tax cut after the state Supreme Court nixed the last one, ruling that funding Capitol repairs and a tax cut really were two different subjects. She imperiously refuses to allow Oklahomans to vote on a statewide bond issue to protect school children from tornadoes because we “can’t afford” it but demands a tax cut and a $120 million bond to gold plate our stinky Capitol shack.

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation reports that we plunged from the 18th most Business Friendly state in 2009 to 36th today. She gushes on TV about how we are famous for “taking care of our own,” but we rank 48th in the nation in the availability of long-term care for seniors and the disabled, 43rd for child well-being, last in the nation in overall health rankings related to disease and mortality, 47th in teacher salaries. ... And lead the nation in cuts to education under Fallin.

Fallin does take care of her friends.

She gave the Oklahoma state tourism director a $40,000 pay raise and a $47,000 hike for the OSBI director. Fallin’s Ethics Commission even recommended a 500 percent increase in the amount in meals and gifts that a lobbyist can give legislators.

Despite the fact that we are one of the lowest spending states in the nation, she talks about “the necessity to continue to reduce the size of state government,” asking for $47.7 million in cuts to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, $37 million for DHS and $49.4 million to higher education. We are already $572 million below 2009 funding levels.

David Boren called her budget a “tragic mistake” and “very damaging to the future of the state.” Amen.

— D.W. Tiffee
Norman

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

 
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05.28.2014 at 07:09 Reply
Ms. Stapleton has a good idea with the billboards, however there are a few other facts that probably should be added to the boards in order to give people the true picture about Oklahoma and its leaders. 49th worst school support and schools in U. S. 3rd worst roads in U. S. 47 worst health care record in U. S. Listed in Street publication as the 9th dumbest state. Oklahoma’a poverty rate is the 44th worst in U. S. (All the dumbest states in U. S. are Republican run and have the worst poverty rates.) Oklahoma is 1st in U. S. for incarceration of women. Governor and State Legislature want to keep giving tax breaks to richest people and corporations while spending money they don’t have. They claim the democrats are the party of tax and spend. Oklahoma has a law forbidding surcharges on credit card purchases but it is not enforced and in fact the states Attorney General told the Oklahoma Tax Commission it was legal for them to charge a surcharge on credit card purchases of license plates and tabs. Women in Oklahoma are living shorter lives in more than half of the counties. From 1985 to 2010, the life expectancy among women in 48 of Oklahoma’s counties decreased, according to data collected by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation.

 

 
 
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