Just the other day, Oklahoma officials ordered a $235 million cut to state agencies in the wake of their second epic revenue failure. Apparently, Governor Mary Fallin and her merry band of conservative shitweasels in the state legislature passed into law a bunch of exemptions and tax cuts for Oklahoma’s richest people, thereby blowing a billion dollar hole in the budget. Now, of course, it’s time to replace those funds by (a) increasing taxes on middle- and lower-income people, and (by) defunding essential services, especially poor and rural communities. Always remember people, that whenever conservative policies fail (i.e. always), that can only mean one thing: we need more of them. THAT’S HOW LOGIC WORKS.
How bad is it? Well,
“Our schoolchildren are the ones who will pay the steepest price,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. She said the cuts will force many school districts in rural areas to go to a four-day school week and consider “heartbreaking decisions” that will affect students in the classroom.
Already the Republican-controlled Legislature has diverted millions of dollars previously earmarked for new textbooks and other educational materials to school operating expenses; as a result, many schools are using tattered textbooks that are as much as 10 years old and held intact with tape. In addition, class sizes have increased dramatically because of a chronic teacher shortage in Oklahoma while enrollment has grown by 51,000 students over the past eight years, and schools have been burdened with myriad mandates, [House Minority Leader Scott] Inman related.
To make the education funding crisis even worse, the governor endorsed education vouchers, which would “siphon off” public funds from public schools and reroute it to private schools.
In addition to her voucher plan, the governor suggested closure of more than 100 of Oklahoma’s rural schools…
What about health care?
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority [OHCA], for example, has had its budget cut by $446 million in the past five years and has reduced provider rates. These cuts have a ripple effect across the state “as they impact providers, especially in areas where the majority of the population is Medicaid-eligible, and they jeopardize rural hospitals that are at risk of bankruptcy,” Inman said.
The OHCA administers health care programs for more than 800,000 Oklahomans, including more than half a million children.
Rep. Earl Sears, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee said “We’re just all going to have to weather that storm.” Some people more than others.
Meanwhile, just yesterday:
Any physician who performs an abortion would be unable to obtain a license to practice medicine in Oklahoma under a measure the state Senate approved overwhelmingly Tuesday over the objection of some Democrats who insisted the measure is unconstitutional.
The bill directs Oklahoma medical licensure officials not to renew or grant a license to any physician who performs an abortion. It also provides that any doctor who has performed an abortion can be prohibited from obtaining a medical license.
Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks said of SB 1552, “It will be defeated in the courts at a cost to Oklahoma, and it will have no impact, other than political.” Of course its impact is strictly political, Senator Sparks—that’s the entire point of the exercise. Sparks was able to amend the bill to require disclosure of the cost of defending a blatantly unconstitutional law in court. And it won’t be the first time Oklahoma lawmakers have racked up that taxpayer tab:
A New York abortion rights group has filed seven legal challenges in the last five years to various anti-abortion laws passed by the Oklahoma Legislature, and most of those laws have been overturned by the courts. Some legal challenges are still pending.
GO NEW YORK! Also: behold fiscally responsible conservatives!
Sounds like the scene at the Oklahoma Senate was quite a spectacle, too. Some Forced Birther named John Reasnor was urging the senators to make it a felony to perform an abortion, which he defended by saying “I think it’s a Christian obligation to seek out mercy for the least of us.”
He seems nice. And very concerned about women, too, whose lives surely do not merit anywhere near as much mercy as “the least of us.” A Christian and a gentleman!
The sponsor of SB 1552, Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, was applauded by all the Forced Birthers packing the gallery when he said the intent of the bill was to “protect the life of the unborn,” and that “I think this is one of the core functions of government.”
But not education or healthcare, obviously. Those need to be privatized, because Jeezus. Or something.
Please welcome to the Abattoir 40 Oklahoma state senators. We have unlicensed physicians on hand to perform all of their involuntary organ extractions. Or they can opt to DIY instead, with whatever’s at hand. Allow us to suggest a coat hanger, senators.