In The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.
Today In The News
Still-declining revenue forces deeper cuts to state agencies starting in March: State agencies were notified Monday that declining state revenues will result in deeper cuts than originally expected. “As you are aware, a revenue failure has already been declared and monthly general revenue allocations to agencies were reduced by three percent for the remainder of fiscal year 2016 beginning in January,” Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said in an email to agency directors and finance officers. “Please be advised that the three percent reduction to monthly general revenue allocations must be deepened beginning in March” [Tulsa World]. A mid-year revenue failure was declared in January [OK Policy].
Lost storefronts, local taxes and the clicking explosion: Oklahoma is a red state again, but this time it’s something much different than partisan politics. And potentially much more devastating. According to a recently released study from Civic Economics and the American Booksellers Association, the red shows how Amazon has negatively affected Oklahoma and other states in lost sales tax and overall tax revenue. If you want to look beyond the oil industry downtown, you might find how Amazon and other online retailers are potentially creating more turmoil than imagined [Joe Hight / Journal Record]. Read the full report: Amazon and Empty Storefronts.
Oil plunge threatens schools, other services in US producer states: From Alaska to Oklahoma, crowded classes, suspended art programs and longer school commutes give students and parents a taste of the downside of cheap gas as oil-producing states scramble to plug budget holes blown by tumbling crude prices. Spending on education, healthcare and other services is either being cut or faces cutbacks in about half a dozen states that have relied on oil taxes for a sizeable part of their revenues and most did not prepare for oil diving as deep as $30 a barrel [Reuters]. The state budget deficit is not just oil prices [OK Policy].