What has mostly gone unaddressed are some of the persistent funding challenges facing many government functions.
Lawmakers must fully implement the provisions of State Questions 780 and 781. Savings from SQ 780—the criminal justice reforms that reclassified several nonviolent crimes as misdemeanors—must be passed on as instructed by SQ 781 so that we can better address the mental health and addiction issues that plague the state.
Oklahoma faces a massive teacher shortage and the pipeline of new teachers is drying up. Pandemic-related tensions have further fueled this crisis. More competitive compensation will help solve this problem, and it needs to happen before the whole system collapses.
Higher education also needs attention. For too long, the state has been stingy with higher education funding, forcing colleges and universities to pass on rising costs to students.
Students, in turn, leave college massively in debt and unable to make basic life investments that older generations took for granted, such as home ownership and retirement savings, until much later in life. This will remain a significant economic headwind for decades until resolved.
The child welfare system, health care system, prisons, and state public safety agencies also need special attention.