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Coalition to highlight consequences of state question to veterans and state employees

Coalition to highlight consequences of state question to veterans and state employees

June 24, 2010
Contact: Crystal Drwenski

News Release


OKLAHOMA CITY – (June 24) The coalition opposing State Question 744, the One Oklahoma Coalition, held a press event today detailing the devastating consequences to state services and state employees should the ballot question be passed by voters this November in the general election.

Representatives with the Oklahoma Public Employees Association and the Oklahoma Veterans’ Affairs Department estimated that more than 20-25% of all state services - including veteran care - would be cut.

According to OPEA officials, the Office of State Finance estimates that 5,000-7,000 state workers would have to be let go to meet the estimated 20% across-the-board cut to all state agencies that may likely ensue to satisfy the cost of SQ 744.

Michele Sexton, Administrative Programs Officer with the Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Department said, “The Oklahoma Education Association says SQ 744 will cost a minimum of $850 million to implement. Taking that much money out of the state budget will do even greater harm than that because it will mean we do not get the federal match on state expenditures, like that for our veterans.”

Sterling Zearly, with the OPEA said, “It’s frightening to think about what will happen to veteran care and the state’s most vulnerable populations with these kinds of cuts. We all support education, but it should not be funded on the backs of Oklahoma’s veterans.”

Discussing the economic impact on a community like Norman, Sexton continued, "We all know the function of government is not to create jobs, but the simple fact is that dozens of people work at this facility. This is how they provide for their family, and it would be harmful to the this community and these families if we had to cut back.”

The group closed their commentary by urging Oklahomans to pull together as a state, not pull apart. Instead of working against each other, they said it is preferable to find ways to grow the entire state’s economy instead of pitting interests against each other, as this state question clearly does, said the group. Last, they encouraged all Oklahomans, rural and urban, to get involved in stopping the initiative.

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