In The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. E-mail your suggestions for In The Know items to email@example.com. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.
The number of abused and neglected children being kept at Oklahoma’s two state-run shelters has soared this past year in violation of Oklahoma law. A national child welfare expert was shocked that Oklahoma has babies in its shelters. Oklahoma has decreased child welfare spending since 2006, and the state spends only about 60 percent as much per child as states with similar populations. Last year, Oklahoma’s youth suicide rate was 31 percent higher than the national rate, and cuts to mental health services resulted in a dramatic increase in calls to the state’s suicide hotline.
Meanwhile, Gov. Fallin is continuing to push for a huge income tax cut. Dale Wares writes why those predicting the tax cut can pay for itself would have failed Economics 101. See more on this issue at OK Policy’s tax reform information page.
The state paid $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a mother who hid her young girl after DHS workers rejected her concerns the girl had been molested. In the past three months, the state has paid almost $1 million to settle lawsuits involving DHS. Because of a new law, 130 sex offenders will be evicted from a ministry-run trailer park that was helping them transition to life after prison. An estimated 11,000 compulsive gamblers have been banned from casinos throughout the state as part of a strategy to curb addictive gambling.
Oklahoma state workers have gone nearly 6 years without a pay increase. Oklahoma City is looking into what it can do to restore transparency of who spends money on local elections. The Boston Globe profiles how Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren was influenced by growing up in Oklahoma. The Guardian looks at an Oklahoma bill on evolution and climate change that is part of a renewed anti-science assault on U.S. schools.
The Number of the Day is how many people die on average each day in Oklahoma from an injury inflicted by a firearm. In today’s Policy Note, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy explains why Arthur Laffer’s claim that n0-income tax states are doing better than other states is junk economics.