Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

April 21, 2013

Legislators address city leaders at Chamber breakfast

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

Sherrer said he believes Oklahoma’s tax structure is delicate and wants to ensure that the overall tax burden stays in the 44-50 range.
In addition to infrastructure an tax structure, Sherrer spoke briefly on workers’ compensation.
He said 19 out of the last 36 years there has been a “major workers’ comp reform bill and legislators are looking at the issue again.
“The bill is ever-changing and has moved from a 260 page bill to over 300 pages now. The House author in committee stated ‘the savings in the bill come from the 30 percent reduction in workers’ benefits,’” said Sherrer. “That’s where the savings are primarily built. It is a big deal and if the bill does pass, it will bring massive changes to workers’ comp as we know it.”
Sherrer said he believes the bill will pass and when it does, he hopes workers are taken care of with benefits and businesses are paying less.
One important economic tool for the state is education.
Oklahoma currently spends 52 percent of state funds on education, said Sherrer.
“We didn’t get education funded by April 1 this year and we haven’t since I have been in the legislature. This is not because education is not a priority,” he said. “We’ve recently had a lack of commitment, in my opinion, to education since the economic down turn in 2008 when nearly $280 million was cut from (education) funding. It’s time to start restoring the funding to culminant.”
The final component of success in rural Oklahoma will always be jobs, said Sherrer.
“Our unemployment rate in Rogers County is hovering around 5.7 percent, which is in fact down almost a point from a year ago. Business leaders in Rogers County are continuing to do a great job.”
During Friday’s breakfast, State Sen. Sean Burrage discussed one of the most important topics at the Capitol this year — Medicaid expansion.

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