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
Remember: OK Policy’s 4th Annual State Budget Summit will be held on Thursday, January 26th in Oklahoma City. Click here for the full program or here to go directly to the registration page to purchase tickets.
After massive fines, Alfa Laval in Broken Arrow got taxpayer cash: Oklahoma paid more than half a million dollars to a company after federal regulators levied a massive fine for workplace hazards, records show. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Alfa Laval nearly $500,000 for dozens of serious workplace safety violations at its Broken Arrow site, including five repeat offenses. The fines were issued in May 2015 and the amount was eventually lowered to $348,500 in a settlement agreement. Then last year, the company claimed more than $500,000 through Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs Program, a state-run incentive that supports companies that expand or move here [NewsOK].
States can offer a lesson as GOP proposes deep cut taxes: President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans who have pledged to cut federal taxes to boost the economy might consider looking first at lessons learned in GOP-controlled states that adopted similar strategies, only to see growth falter and budget gaps widen. The situation is worrisome enough in Kansas, Oklahoma and Indiana that lawmakers are now debating whether to reverse course and raise taxes. And political leaders in states that have seen expanded Republican control, such as Arkansas and Iowa, are signaling caution about any new tax-cut proposals [Associated Press]. Two-thirds of states are facing budget challenges this year [Associated Press].
Scott Pruitt, Trump’s E.P.A. Pick, Backed Industry Donors Over Regulators: A legal fight to clean up tons of chicken manure fouling the waters of Oklahoma’s bucolic northeastern corner — much of it from neighboring Arkansas — was in full swing six years ago when the conservative lawyer Scott Pruitt took office as Oklahoma’s attorney general. His response: Put on the brakes. Rather than push for a federal judge to punish the companies by extracting perhaps tens of millions of dollars in damages, Oklahoma’s new chief law enforcement officer quietly negotiated a deal to simply study the problem further [New York Times].
Continue Reading »