OKLAHOMA CITY, July 13, 2017 – When the legislative session kicks off in February, Oklahoma will likely be facing a revenue shortfall for the fourth straight year. If the legislature fails again, Drew Edmondson has a plan to address the state’s funding crisis.
Edmondson, a candidate for governor in 2018, today announced his Take Back Oklahoma plan.
“Our legislative leaders still have a chance to set Oklahoma back on solid financial footing to fund education, health care, infrastructure and services for seniors,” Edmondson said. “If they aren’t willing to stand up to their corporate donors and their corporate lobbyists and do what’s right, I’m prepared as governor to put a plan before the people and let them vote to secure these critical services and put Oklahoma back on track.”
Promising that his governorship will be a partnership with the people, Edmondson said he’ll tour the state this fall, giving Oklahomans across the state an opportunity to help build the plan for Oklahoma’s future.
“Our leaders have failed to stand up to corporate special interest lobbyists. Our friends and neighbors and especially our children are paying the price,” Edmondson said. “If the shadows from the tall buildings downtown loom too large over our legislature, as governor, I’ll bring the process into the light of day and let Oklahomans vote on a budget plan that supports the people’s priorities.”
If such a petition becomes necessary, it would mark the second time Edmondson has brought a funding issue to the vote of the people. As attorney general, Edmondson led the effort to pass a constitutional amendment that created the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, which directed that the money received from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with big tobacco be spent specifically on public health. The people also approved Edmondson’s plan to direct the Trust’s administrators to spend only the Trust’s earnings, insuring that the fund would continue to grow even as other states drained their settlement accounts. Today, the Tobacco Trust has a balance of more than $1 billion.
“We have too many people in office who are concerned about the next election when they should be thinking about the next generation,” Edmondson said. “I hope the legislature grows a backbone over the summer and comes back to the capitol with a realistic plan to fund the priorities that will best serve our seniors, kids, grandkids and our Oklahoma. If they don’t do that, when I’m governor I’ll take it to the people and we’ll get the job done through the initiative petition process.”