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Today In The News
Doerflinger says Oklahoma must broaden its tax base: Oklahoma has shown signs recently that it has turned the corner after a sharp economic downturn, but State Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger warns that the underlying problems remain. “There’s so many good things occurring in this economy,” he told KRMG Wednesday, “but as far as the general revenue fund goes, which is what we use to fund state government, we’re not seeing the types of collections come into that that we need to as rapidly to really, really turn this thing – from a state funding standpoint – around.” [KRMG] The Save our State Coalition proposed new revenues as part of their Better Budget Blueprint [Save Our State]
What to Watch in Potential School Funding Lawsuit: A school funding lawsuit, like the one being considered by the Oklahoma City Public Schools board, threatens to force the state Legislature to find more money for schools — a maneuver attempted in nearly every state with varying degrees of success. The district announced Thursday its board plans to pursue legal action against the Legislature, and specifically House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Senate Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus, due to unfunded legislative mandates, especially items like textbooks. [Oklahoma Watch] Oklahoma already led the nation in cuts to K-12 education. Now we lead in cuts to higher ed too. [OK Policy]
Parole board vacancies concern defense attorneys: The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board is short two members, and some criminal defense attorneys said that could create a burden for defendants and prisoners. The board can’t meet unless three members are present. This has prevented hearings only one month in the past year, when officials had to cancel the April docket and postpone each of those hearings until May. Defense attorneys are less concerned about the possibility that hearings could become more difficult to schedule. They said that having only three members on the board could make it more difficult to get the requisite positive votes. [Journal Record]
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