Organization Aims To Help Oklahomans Connect With Lawmakers About State Budget

Saturday, March 25th 2017, 7:24 pm
By: News On 6

People fearful of the direction Oklahoma's education system is heading gathered to learn why lawmakers are telling schools they can expect a major drop in state aid.

"The budget crisis is hurting everyone,” said Kara Joy McKee of the Oklahoma Policy Institute. “It's hurting our children and our families."

Jenks librarian Deanna Tirrell said it even hurts those who don't have a kid in school.

"I think a lot of times they don't understand how that ripples out into the community,” said   Tirrell.

McKee added, "It's not that the education budget shrank, it's that the whole budget pie shrank."

People learned more about how the state divides up the budget. McKee said she believes lawmakers have options to avoid the cuts, like reducing tax breaks.

"So far, aren't choosing to take those options," she stated. "Our legislators have been giving away big tax breaks and big tax cuts to the wealthiest Oklahomans and the biggest corporations that don't actually need a break."

McKee helped people figure out who represents them and how to approach lawmakers if you see them out.

"I could say, ‘Hey, how's it going on this bill?' or 'Is there a time that you and I could get together?’"

Tirrell stressed the importance of knowing the local influence your lawmakers have and the importance of them knowing your concerns. 

"They really need to dig deep and understand all the constituents in that area,” said Tirrell.

Part of the meeting was to help people work as a team to build a relationship with lawmakers.

“And say that we know that you know that you have options to fill the budget hole, and we want you to choose those options,” McKee further explained.

If you want to learn more about the state's budget this year and see what lawmakers are doing instead of funding education, visit the following link: Oklahoma Policy Institute