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Governor Visits POE Office

Governor Stitt visited the POE state office last week, serving as keynoter before the Kiwanis Club of Norman at its monthly meeting. POE hosted the club's February meeting which drew nearly 50 Kiwanis members, along with POE staff.
 
 

Gives recap of "Big Wins" while speaking to Kiwanis members

Governor Stitt visited the POE state office last week, serving as keynoter before the Kiwanis Club of Norman at its monthly meeting. POE hosted the club's February meeting which drew nearly 50 Kiwanis members, along with POE staff.

The governor highlighted big wins for the first year of his administration, with the top win being fiscal transparency. “With all state agency budgets online, we went from 47 to 7 in national rankings in transparency,” he said.

Through fiscal responsibility, Gov. Stitt has cast a bold vision to reach $2 billion in savings. This year, he is asking the legislature to raise the rainy day cap from 15% to 30% so the state can continue to put money in reserve.

Last year, on Nov. 1, Stitt signed the largest commutation in U.S. history, giving 450 simple possession drug offenders a second chance. In 2016, Oklahoma voters made simple drug possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony. In 2019, HB 1269 created an opportunity for those serving time in prison for simple possession to have the felony sentences commuted.

The governor also shared about two initiatives where Oklahomans can break the red tape of regulation and organizations can be a neighbor. He has introduced these programs as a believer that government cannot solve all issues.

Stitt plans to reduce unnecessary regulations by 25 percent by removing the burden of excessive regulation.

By visiting Breakthetape.ok.gov, farmers, ranchers and businesses can go online and provide input on regulations they believe don't make sense anymore. With regulatory reform, Gov. Stitt is following President Trump's lead as he works to reduce regulations on the federal level.

“Over the years regulations pile up,” Stitt said. “I set a vision to reduce regs over the next three years; for example add one, delete two. We can do it.”

The Beaneighbor.org website encourages nonprofits, faith-based groups and community organizations to help those struggling with resources to find help.

“Kids are aging out of foster care at 16 to 18 years old and the statistics are staggering against them. This group needs a mentor. With high school retention, for example in Oklahoma County, 58 kids dropped out. How can the county solve this problem? [We need to be] reducing the cycle of incarceration, making sure they get the technical training to get them back into the workforce. Be a Neighbor is about county members getting involved.”

During a question and answer period, Bill Bentley, chair of the POE Foundation board and a retired educator who served in public education for years, wanted to know about funding for operational expenses and capitol expenses.

“In the 80s, Oklahoma equalized on operations,” Bentley said. “Oklahoma has rich schools and poor schools because of the assessment value of the district. We are not equalized on capital improvements.”

Bentley asked the governor his thoughts on equalization.

“The funding formula hasn't been revised since 1990,” Stitt said. “We need to revise that and we need to unlock those local dollars. I live in the Jenks School District and if they wanted to do anything extra or if Norman wants to do anything extra, they get penalized because the dollars get spread out through the equalization formula.”

As the meeting wrapped up, POE Executive Director Ginger Tinney, who is always advocating on behalf of POE members made a request to Gov. Stitt, “We would really appreciate your signature on our bills that will hopefully be heading your way.”

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