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Governor signs order to stop new hires, raises for state employees without approval

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Mary Fallin is cracking down on how state agencies spend money when it comes to employees.

The governor signed an executive order that prohibits new hires, employee raises or bonuses unless an exception is approved by the statewide elected official who directs and manages the agency.

The approval process requires a written, formal explanation from the agency’s director that explains why a new hire, pay raise, promotion or bonus is necessary.

“As I said in my State of the State Address last week, every dollar we spend in state government needs to be appropriately justified to taxpayers.” said Fallin. “We know there are instances when state agencies need additional personnel, or when good performance merits a pay raise. This executive order will require agencies to offer a detailed explanation for personnel spending increases before committing additional taxpayer resources.”

Also, Rep. David Dank announced on Monday that the Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation will not hear any measures that will have a negative impact on the budget.

“Year after year we hear that if we’ll just give in this year and play fast and loose with the taxpayers’ money we will get around to enacting reforms to offset that spending next year. Some of us have been waiting for next year for a decade. Well, this is next year. The spigot is now turned off,” Dank said.

Dank said he will even refuse to hear bills that he has sponsored in the past, including one that would exempt hearing aids from sales taxes.

“If that is going to cost a million bucks, those are dollars that were previously used to fund some other area of government,” he said. “This is robbing Peter to pay Paul and leaving both of them broke in the end.”

Dank said he will not spend any additional funds until the state enacts real reform of tax credits and exemptions, along with cutting down on wasteful government spending in the state.

“We reauthorized the tax credits for wind farms at a projected cost of $290 million by 2018,” he said. “We gave away what will amount to $40 million a year to housing developers by 2026. We dumped another $50 million in subsidies into the pot for movie producers, but the taxpayers are still being asked to make up the difference to perform such truly important functions as public safety and education.”

“How can we continue to play this shell game every year and look the taxpayer in the eye and claim we are being responsible?” Dank added.

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