Oklahoma Lawmakers, Leaders Respond To Stitt’s State Of The State Address

Oklahoma’s leaders and lawmakers have voiced opinions on the many things he addressed.

Monday, February 5th 2024, 5:29 pm


Oklahoma’s Gov. Kevin Stitt gave his State of the State address Monday. He spoke about tribal relations, criminal justice, economic development, taxes, and education.

Oklahoma’s leaders and lawmakers have voiced opinions on the many things he addressed.

Related: Gov. Stitt’s 2024 State Of The State: A Breakdown

Lawmakers Respond To Education Remarks

Gov. Stitt talked a lot about providing school choice in the state. He touted the private and homeschool tax credits that lawmakers passed last year, saying we should build on that momentum.

There are a few pieces of legislation in the works from republican leaders that would clean up those tax credits, the governor says he's in favor of those.

Democratic leaders made it clear they're not a fan of Stitt's parental choice tax credits passed last session. Their focus will be on putting more tax dollars towards public schools.

Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson also talked about their focus on higher education, saying now is the time to invest in rural and flagship institutions instead of cutting their funding..

Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd also voiced her support for greater investment in public education, career techs and higher institution agencies to provide greater opportunities for Oklahomans.

Lawmakers Respond To Remarks On Oklahoma Tribes

There are two cases making their way through the court system that the governor has criticized; Hooper Versus Tulsa and Stroble Versus the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

Both Hooper and Stroble are Muscogee Creek Nation members.

The Stroble case argues she shouldn't have to pay state income taxes when she was living and working on tribal land.

Governor Stitt says if the court rules that Stroble doesn't have to pay state income taxes, then no Oklahoman should.

Democrats say Stitt’s continued conflict with tribal leaders is unacceptable.

Muscogee Nation Principal Chief David Hill said in a statement: "McGirt has not caused confusion, but political games by politicians like Stitt have.” 

Governor Stitt also created the One Oklahoma taskforce that will bring together state and tribal leaders to look at the impacts of McGirt. The main 5 tribes rejected the governor's decision to join that taskforce, but Stitt said today he's hoping the tribes will reconsider.

Chief Hill’s statement said, “The Governor’s Taskforce is designed to undermine tribal jurisdiction and result in fewer police, fewer courts and fewer prosecutors to keep our communities safe.”

Lawmakers Respond To Remarks Oklahoma’s Economy

Governor Stitt says the path to success starts with being a business-friendly state.

To accomplish this, Stitt called to limit burdensome business regulations, but state Democrats weren't convinced.

Full Statements On The State Of The State Address

The Cherokee Nation released the following statement:

Cherokee Nation SOTS ResponseImage Provided By: Cherokee Nation

Chief Gary Batton with the Choctaw Nation released the following statement:

“We appreciate Gov. Stitt’s acknowledgement of recent agreements with some tribes, and the Choctaw Nation remains committed to cooperation to improve life for all Oklahomans,” Batton said. "Unfortunately, the governor continues to fight over legal matters that have been settled by the U.S. Supreme Court and use divisive language when talking about tribes and our members. Too often, he appears not to understand how to work with an equal partner for the benefit of all.
 “The Choctaw Nation is focused on taking care of our tribal members and the communities we live in while creating positive relationships with all our neighbors.”

Muscogee Nation Principal Chief David Hill released the following statement: 

"Governor Stitt once again demonstrated that honesty is not his strongest trait.
"McGirt has not caused confusion, but political games by politicians like Stitt have.  
"The law is clear, but rather than work together to integrate tribal jurisdictions to improve public safety, he has sought to reject it and sowed division.
"The Governor’s Taskforce is designed to undermine tribal jurisdiction and result in fewer police, fewer courts and fewer prosecutors to keep our communities safe.   
"If the Governor wants to work with tribes, we stand ready. But we will not participate in a political stunt that will make our nations and our state weaker."

The Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus released the following statement from House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson:

“The Governor’s State of the State Address did not paint an accurate picture of the actual needs of every day, working Oklahomans. He continues to push for income tax cuts that will disproportionately impact the wealthiest Oklahomans. The cost of the income tax cut would be $250M to the state while only giving median income earners an average of $100 per year and the top 1% of earners over $2,300 per year. We've lived through a budget deficit and drastic cuts to services that are vital to the health and well-being of all Oklahomans. Oklahomans deserve better than lip service about a 'pay raise' – we deserve leaders who understand the real challenges we face and who are willing to find solutions to those challenges."

Representative Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) introduced the House Democratic Policy Agenda:

"There are ways to benefit regular, working Oklahoma families. We can do so by lowering costs for working families and cutting the state portion of the grocery tax. It is also prudent we increase funding for public education in order to grow a diverse and highly skilled workforce."

Representative Trish Ranson (D-Stillwater) announced plans pertaining to healthcare:

"Healthcare should be accessible to all Oklahomans and cover a comprehensive list of healthcare needs," Rep. Ranson said. "We must also acknowledge the childcare crisis. Without proper childcare support, the Oklahoma workforce loses efficiency."

Representative Monroe Nichols:

“For six years, the governor has promised to make Oklahoma a top state. Like the previous five, he has failed to deliver a path to get us there. Oklahomans deserve more than another year of empty promises. They deserve action. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the legislature will come together and respond to the challenges facing Oklahoma, despite the governor’s failure to acknowledge them. We must craft a plan that meets our need to end homelessness, invest in education, strengthen our workforce and ensure communities are safe. These challenges deserve serious attention and a plan of action. 
“Finally, I remain committed to a co-governing strategy with our tribal nations. At a time when Oklahoma should be united, the governor once again used his platform to marginalize our state’s first inhabitants. Unity moves at the speed of trust, unfortunately divisive rhetoric and fear mongering isn’t going to get us there.”

Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd released the following statement:

“With the opening ceremonies and constitutional mandates of the first day of session fulfilled, we’re now focused on the work ahead in the 2024 session. While the governor has shared his priorities in policy and for the budget, it is the sole constitutional responsibility of the Legislature to write and pass a balanced budget.
“Senate Democrats will continue to advocate for fiscal responsibility that reflects not just the immediate impact, but the long-term effects of budget decisions and tax proposals. We know our greatest economic development engine is education, and we support greater investment in our public schools, CareerTechs, colleges and universities that strengthen these public institutions and provides greater opportunities for our citizens.
“We support public policy and investments that will improve the infrastructure all Oklahomans rely on and that strengthen individuals and families through greater access to health care, lifesaving medications, and other vital services. We’ll seek common ground on these issues and stand against words and policies that merely serve to divide our state and place politics over people.”

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