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Today you should know that Gov. Fallin outlined a budget plan to deeply reduce Oklahoma’s personal income tax rate by eliminating dozens of tax exemptions, including many claimed by poor and working-class Oklahomans. It would also significantly reduce state revenues and include a trigger that cuts the rate further any time the budget begins to recover. OK Policy released a statement in response to the plan. Find more on the tax debate here, including a new action alert on why it’s important to save the income tax and what you can do today.
An overcrowded prison system, an outdated state water plan, and a child welfare system failing to properly care for vulnerable Oklahoma children are a few of the problems facing lawmakers in the 2012 legislative session, which began yesterday. OK Policy released an updated 2012 Legislative Primer explaining how state government and the legislative process works. Gov. Fallin announced that she has signed an executive order banning tobacco use on state property.
The Tulsa World summarizes a new report outlining how DHS failed to protect three young Oklahoma children. See the full report from the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth. The Oklahoma Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the DHS settlement of a lawsuit over foster care abuses. A Senate committee approved a “personhood bill” the defines life as beginning at conception. The OU Daily writes that this bill would bring dangerous and extreme consequences.
Rep. Jason Murphey said he believes it is only a matter of time before open records and open meetings laws are applied to the Oklahoma Legislature. NewsOK writes that cutting funding for OETA would be a disservice to the state. The Number of the Day is the average savings on Rx drugs per Oklahoma Medicare beneficiary in 2011 because of changes made by the new health care law. In today’s Policy Note, Governing Magazine discusses the crucial choice states face over essential health benefits as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.