OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After being elected to his second term in November, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt gave his fifth ‘State of the State.’
In the past, Stitt has spoken about taxes, education, marijuana, and jobs in the Sooner State.
At the start of Monday’s speech, Gov. Stitt celebrated cutting the budget deficit and increasing the state’s saving account, cutting taxes, and investigating in infrastructure and education.
“My fellow Oklahomans: The state of our state is the strongest it’s ever been,” Stitt said.
He said his priorities were to increase excellence in education, make Oklahoma the most business-friendly state in the nation, and protect Oklahomans and their freedom.
He proposed education savings accounts, performance-based pay raises for teachers, an initiative to get students reading at grade level, and expanding concurrent enrollment so that high schoolers can earn college credits.
“Oklahoma cannot afford to be left behind. Because our greatest asset isn’t our oil and gas. It’s not our football teams. It’s not the aerospace and defense industry. It’s our kids,” he said.
Stitt said that in addition to diversifying the energy grid, he wants Oklahoma to become the nation’s ‘Hydrogen Hub.’
He said in his executive budget, he is also proposing to eliminate Oklahoma’s state grocery tax and reduce the personal income tax rate to 3.99%.
“These cuts will save each family in Oklahoma hundreds of dollars each year. And it will continue to make Oklahoma one of the best states to live, work, and raise your family. When our economy is booming everyone wins,” he said.
The Justice Action Network released the following statement after the speech:
“We’re so thankful that Governor Stitt doubled down on his commitment to leading the nation on evidence-based criminal justice policies that are changing people’s lives for the better while making families whole and communities safer during his state of the state today. Under Gov. Kevin Stitt’s leadership, Oklahoma is not only inspiring other states to provide critical documentation to returning citizens so that they’re immediately hireable with the Sarah Stitt Act, it’s one of the first Republican states to pass a Clean Slate law, providing automatic expungement to people who’ve turned their lives around and remained crime free after incarceration. Today, Gov. Stitt showed that protecting public safety means supporting smart criminal justice reforms that expand the state’s workforce while prioritizing prison and law enforcement resources on reducing violent crime. Thanks to strong leaders in the Legislature, with Reps. Brian Hill, Marylin Stark, and Nicole Miller, Oklahoma is well positioned this year to continue its bold leadership to help people access jobs, education, and resources so that they can contribute to Oklahoma’s communities and build a meaningful life for themselves and their families.”Lauren Krisai, deputy director of the Justice Action Network.
Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma, released the following statement:
“The governor outlined numerous priorities that will continue our state’s positive momentum,” Treat said. “His clear vision and attainable results are focused on making Oklahoma the best place possible for everyone to succeed, while improving our economy and standing in the global market. Improving public education outcomes, tax reform and work force development are all high priorities for Senate Republicans this year. We look forward to working with the governor on these important areas and more. I am optimistic about this year and believe we will have success together to benefit Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma Democrats responded to the State of the State late Monday afternoon.
“The governor gave a partisan and highly divisive speech that was more about politics than solutions. That is not the approach Oklahomans need right now. Instead, we should prioritize our state’s real challenges.
Our caucus has five priorities this session: protect and support students and teachers; help Oklahomans find good jobs and pay their bills; make it easier to get the healthcare you need; improve neighborhood safety with smart criminal justice reforms; and give every Oklahoman a fair shot regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Rather than siphoning taxpayer dollars into a voucher scheme that will defund schools, we are calling on our colleagues to put the $4 billion in savings they are so proud of to good use addressing real problems like COVID learning loss and employment shortages in education and healthcare.
We are gravely disappointed that the governor and his colleagues continue to attack Oklahomans’ access to the healthcare they need and the right of patients and doctors to choose what’s best for themselves.
Our caucus will continue to work diligently to improve the lives of Oklahomans in a meaningful way. I sincerely hope the governor and our colleagues in the Legislature will join us in that effort.”Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City