Health issues, education part of State of the State

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OKLAHOMA CITY—Gov. Mary Fallin covered an array of topics in the annual State of the State address and stressed that while we are improving, a lot still needs to be done.

During the speech, she cited that the state created 62,400 new jobs, along with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

A big part of the address was education.

MORE: Democrats say Gov. 'only cares about wealthy' in State of the State

While saying the new A-F grading system could help parents and teachers, she said the state is still near the bottom for education.

The legislature is not just focusing on public education.

The Complete College America program has issued more than 2,000 college degrees and career tech certifications last year.

 Gov. Fallin also said the budget would reflect a $13.5 million increase to education and $8.5 million to pay for teachers’ health benefits.

She also stated the top income tax bracket should be lowered from 5.25 percent to 5.0 percent.

Fallin also talked about consolidating agencies and boards that are outdated.

So far, 40 advisory boards have been consolidated, which saves more than $350,000.

She said $50 million would be allocated to the DHS Pinnacle Program, which helps children go into foster homes at a young age.

Health was also a big part of the speech.

Gov. Fallin said tobacco usage costs $2 billion each year with 6,000 Oklahomans dying from tobacco-related complications.

The governor also advised increasing funding for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services by $16 million.

For the first time, she also proposed funding for suicide prevention.

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