OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin delivered her State of the State Address Monday afternoon, highlighting education, budget and health care reform.
The Oklahoma Legislature convened the 2014 legislative session at noon prior to Fallin giving her fourth address.
Lawmakers will have nearly $7 billion in revenue to appropriate to state agencies and programs this year.
In 2011, Fallin stated the unemployment rate was at 7.2 percent and Oklahoma's rainy day fund was a little more than $2. Today, Oklahoma's unemployment rate is at 5.4 percent and the rainy day savings fund now exceeds half a billion dollars.
"Oklahoma government has created a government running more like a business -- efficient, effective and customer-friendly... The fiscal budget is now in order," the governor said Monday.
Fallin proposed targeted spending cuts to many state agencies, asking them to "continue to operate more efficiently and effectively and to cut waste."
She also asked legislators to approve House Joint Resolution 1092, which would expand the bonding capacity for local school districts. Those cuts would allow an increase of $50 million to go toward K-12 education.
To those who have argued against the A-F grading system for schools and districts around the state, Fallin cited U.S. Grant High School as proof that the initiative is working. The Oklahoma City school was able to bring its grade from a F to a B+.
Fallin also called for renovations to the Oklahoma State Capitol, which she said is in "terrible shape, and a "safety hazard." She suggested using bond dollars to fund the improvements.
During this legislative session, Fallin told lawmakers that she has included an additional quarter-point income tax reduction in the budget. This reduction would return more than $100 million to the state economy, Fallin stated.
"[Washington] D.C. has taken every opportunity to raise our taxes; we should take every opportunity to lower them."