We are past the first session of the 57th Legislature, and I can confidently say that this administration has hit the ground running on delivering accountability, transparency and results. As your governor, I am committed to delivering a customer-centered government that is efficient and focused on delivering measurable outcomes with your hard-earned tax dollars.
Audits are underway; waste is already being identified; and more importantly, talented Oklahomans are stepping forward and raising their hand to come join us in this historic turnaround for our great state.
We are shaking up business as usual in state government by reforming five of the 12 largest agencies so state agency leaders are forced to answer to the executive branch and to the will of the people, and we have passed a fiscally responsible budget that invests in core services now while also thinking proactively about the future. For the first time in state history, we will increase Oklahoma’s savings account, in order to protect core services in the future, without the law forcing it. We are setting aside $200 million in order to have more than $1.1 billion in savings by the end of next year
For the first time in state history, we will give Oklahoma teachers a pay raise for a second year in a row, providing an average $1,220 raise per certified employee. For the first time in state history, we will fully fund the Reading Sufficiency Act while also putting an additional $74 million into the funding formula for local classroom needs.
For the first time in state history, we will fully fund ODOT’s 8-year plan and repay the county roads program $30 million. For the first time in state history we will make the largest deposit into the Quick Action Closing Fund, helping Oklahoma compete for new jobs to diversify our state’s economy. For the first time in state history we will set aside one-time funds to bring state government services into the 21st century through digital modernization.
We will move the needle in criminal justice reform by investing in drug courts and diversion programs. We are also reforming District Attorneys’ funding model so they are not reliant on high fines, fees and court costs that have created a debtor’s prison. We are on the path to becoming a Top Ten state, but this turnaround is only possible when we are all working together toward our shared vision to see Oklahoma celebrated as one of the best states in the nation.
I appreciate elected officials of the House and Senate who helped make this a legislative session full of historic accomplishments. We can and we will continue to move the needle, but we need you to stay engaged. It takes all of us working together to deliver meaningful change.