Fallin: Don't shift federal budget problems to states
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
1/09/13 at 3:08 PM
The federal government shouldn't solve its budget problem by simply shifting costs to state governments, Gov. Mary Fallin said in a Washington speech Wednesday.
Dealing with federal budget problems was one of several topics Fallin addressed in a National Press Club speech with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. Fallin and Markell were speaking on behalf of the National Governors Association. Markell, a Democrat, is the group’s chairman. Fallin, a Republican, is the vice chairwoman.
Fallin held up Oklahoma’s economic growth out of the national recession as a model.
“I’ve got to tell you, it wasn’t easy,” Fallin said. “We did it through prioritizing our spending, making very tough budget decisions, good public policy, and we also had to make some shared sacrifices.”
Fallin pointed out that Oklahoma’s unemployment has gone from a recessionary high of 7 percent to 5.2 percent and the state is one of 30 where government spending is now approaching pre-recession levels.
While governors know dealing with the federal budget problem will mean spending cuts, Fallin emphasized that those fiscal decisions need to be made in a cooperative atmosphere with state governments, which she called “flexible federalism.”
“We think states are the 'laboratory of democracy' that can be on the front line of helping develop policies, being able to solve some of our nation’s most pressing issues, whether it involves economic growth, job creation, health care, education, focusing on government waste and many other issues,” Fallin said. “To provide these solutions, however, we think we need room in our states to reform, to redesign, to redirect many of our state policies and our directions.”
Read more in Thursday's Tulsa World.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin speaks on the campus of OU-Tulsa in Tulsa back in September. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World File