by Rep. Kevin Wallace, Oklahoma House District 32
Even though most members of the House are not meeting at the state Capitol at the moment, I’ve been there meeting with Senate leaders, certain members of our fiscal staff and the governor’s office working on the state budget.
I’ve been splitting my time at the Capitol with being home in my district talking daily with constituents and answering questions about small business loans, unemployment claims, health care concerns and more. I’m also in daily contact with other House members, whether via teleconferences with the governor and our fellow Caucus members or daily email updates from the speaker and the state Department of Health.
I’m updated daily on the latest spread of the virus and the way the state is reacting.
Also last week, lawmakers got to talk to Sen. Lankford who serves Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate. He gave us information about the aid bill that just passed that will help individuals and families as well as small businesses and the unemployed. It also addresses many facets of health care.
“We do expect to have a revenue failure this year with the shutdown of our non-essential businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic and the sharp drop in the price of oil and gas.”
Regarding details of the state budget for Fiscal 2021, we do expect to have a revenue failure this year with the shutdown of our non-essential businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic and the sharp drop in the price of oil and gas. But we did come into this year with more than $1 billion in the state’s savings account. This will allow us to be able to continue funding core government services for the coming fiscal year and help us as we begin to look at the following fiscal year.
We will rebound from this crisis. I’ve already heard stories of how some businesses that have had to change their business model for the short term, but they are being sustained even in the midst of crisis. Some businesses have switched to making hand sanitizer or medical products to help our medical industry. Restaurants have switched from in-person dining to carryout and delivery. Some retailers have switched to a temporary online format. These are examples of innovation and creativity, and they give us hope during what otherwise can seem like a very challenging time.
I know many in my district are wondering about how their school-age children will be able to keep up as schools move to an online format for the moment. I’m assured the State Department of Education is working hard with each district to assure each student gets what they need to stay up to date on their schoolwork. Again, this is an area where innovation and creativity can abound.
For those with questions about the virus itself, the State Department of Health has established a website: http://coronavirus.health.ok.gov.
Kevin Wallace is the state representative for House District 32, which includes all of Lincoln County and a small portion of Logan County. He is the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and also serves on the house Natural Resources and Wildlife Committees. A lifelong Lincoln County native and Wellston High School graduate, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1993. Kevin founded American Cellular Service and Dynatek Development Services, which he sold in 2000. That same year he founded SWT Construction, where he continues to serve as a manager. He also owns an equipment rental company and a small investment firm. Kevin is co-owner of The Wilderness Refuge, a hunting reserve, and Wallahachie L.L.C., a whitetail deer and cattle breeding operation. He is an active member of First Baptist Church of Wellston.