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. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.
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The Oklahoma House voted along strong partison lines to allow a scheduled income tax cut to go into effect next year, despite a $611 million budget hole. The tax cut, which will provide just $29 to middle-income households on average, increases Oklahoma’s budget shortfall by $57 million in 2016 and $147 million in 2017. House Speaker Jeff Hickman may be the last hope for resurrecting funding to complete the American Indian Cultural Center. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said if key repairs to the Oklahoma Capitol cost more than the $120 million already authorized, lawmakers will have little choice but to provide extra money.
A week after defeating it, the Oklahoma House has passed legislation asking voters to decide whether the governor and lieutenant governor should run on a joint ticket. KGOU shared quotes and video from a panel on tax incentive reform at OK Policy’s State Budget Summit. While many tax experts and state officials acknowledge Oklahoma’s tax breaks and incentives need reform, the state legislature has taken little action to do so. Two Oklahoma Department of Corrections employees at Mack Alford Correctional Center resigned Monday after two inmates, including a convicted murderer, escaped from the facility Sunday night.
Some Tulsa Public Schools could be reorganized by a private contractor under legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Governor Fallin wrote an op-ed asking Congress to pass legislation that eliminates regulations on the insurance industry if the US Supreme Court votes to repeal Affordable Care Act subsidies. Tulsa World columnist Ginnie Graham discussed Oklahoma’s ranking as the fourth worst state for women.
Legal experts debated how far the University of Oklahoma can go to punish student members of the SAE fraternity caught on video singing a racist chant. Vox discussed OU President David Boren’s response to the video, where he said the students were disgraceful and that he’d be glad if they left the university. Governor Fallin and members of the Legislature’s Black Caucus condemned the video and praised Boren’s response. The Oklahoma State University student paper reported that the same evening that University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon came under fire, a Confederate flag was visible hanging in a window of Oklahoma State University’s SAE house.
The Number of the Day is the percentage of Oklahoma adults who report doing no physical activity or exercise other than their regular job in the last 30 days. In today’s Policy Note, the New York Times examined how restrictions that prevent Americans with criminal records from finding jobs is taking a toll on the broader economy.
continue reading In The Know: House votes to allow income tax cut to proceed