State leaders and policymakers of Oklahoma are scheduled to address growing concerns over the state’s dwindling budget next week.
OK Policy’s Third Annual State Budget Summit will meet Jan. 28 at Will Rogers Theater in Oklahoma City. Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal will also be in attendance, according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute's website.
According to the website, the summit aims to gather Oklahoma's thinkers with the goal of identifying and resolving the causes of Oklahoma's growing budget problems.
The hope is that attendees will leave better informed about issues facing Oklahoma regarding the budget and debt, and that they will be more prepared to make a positive impact in the future, according to the website.
As oil and gas prices continue to plummet, increasing the likelihood of a difficult economy in 2016, it is expected that Oklahoma could be confronted with its most daunting challenge since the oil bust in the 1980s, according to the website. The predicted economic hardship could have a strong impact on the basic public services that are offered in Oklahoma.
Executive Director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute David Blatt said he highly encourages citizens to follow the results of the Summit.
“This is really a critical situation that has critical implications for all Oklahomans," Blatt said. "We think it is essential that people go into the legislative session better informed about what our budget situation is and better informed about what the options are for addressing this crisis."
State officials have also enlisted consultation from the neighboring state of Kansas in hopes of finding a solution to the state budget crisis. Annie McKay and Duane Goosen, keynote speakers from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, will share the challenges that faced the state of Kansas and talk about lessons learned from those experiences.
In addition to scheduled guest speakers, various groups and individuals affected by the potential budget cuts will be heard in a session called “The Human Cost of Budget Cuts: Testimonials from the Front Line”. Other sessions that will be included in the summit include “Oklahoma’s Budget Crisis: How Did We Get In, How Might We Get Out?” and “Managing the State Budget Crisis: What Needs to be on the Table,” among other pertinent topics of the day. A schedule can be found on the website.
Although tickets to the summit are sold out, any news that takes place can be followed through the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Twitter account. Video of the summit can be viewed by visiting the institute's website upon completion of the event.