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.
Today you should know that state revenue forecasts confirm the need for additional caution, with next year’s revenues expected to remain slightly below 2008 levels. Oklahoma’s second flu death of the season has been recorded in Tulsa County. Four GOP-led states were certified to run their own health insurance exchanges, joining a group totaling 17 states that have gotten an initial go-ahead to build and run exchanges.
Congress extended a key tax credit for wind energy as part of the fiscal cliff deal. The Cherokee Nation has officially secured the land where it will build its new $7 million, 28,000-square-foot health center. DHS needs an additional 2,000 foster families to successfully implement the Pinnacle Plan.
The Number of the Day is the number of states that have a federally licensed spaceport (a base from which a spacecraft could be launched). In today’s Policy Note, Economic Policy Institute discussed the economic impact of workplace injuries and illnesses in the U.S.
In The News
Revenue forecast confirms need for continued caution
In late December, the Board of Equalization certified a preliminary estimate of the revenues available for next year’s budget. The numbers confirm that while the worst of the fiscal crisis is now far behind us, the state remains in the midst of a slow and incomplete recovery and will continue to struggle to restore services to adequate levels.
2nd flu death recorded in Oklahoma; state health officials confirm deaths both in Tulsa County
The second flu death of the season has been recorded in Oklahoma, according to the State Health Department. State health officials say both deaths occurred in Tulsa County, but few other details have been released. The first flu victim was between 19 and 64 years old. Health care providers are encouraging flu shots for everyone, including pregnant women, the elderly and people with underlying health issues. The vaccine is available for anyone 6 months or older.
Red states, too, get health care nod from Obama
Injecting a rare shot of bipartisanship in the nation’s contentious health care overhaul, the Obama administration Thursday cleared four Republican-led states to build their own consumer-friendly insurance markets. With open enrollment for millions of uninsured Americans just nine months away – Oct. 1, 2013 – the four GOP-led states became part of a group totaling 17 states plus Washington, D.C., that have gotten an initial go-ahead to build and run insurance exchanges. Seven were approved Thursday.
Congress renews wind production tax credit
Developers in the wind industry got some good news for the new year as Congress extended a key tax credit for electricity generated by wind. A bill to deal with the so-called “fiscal cliff” also included a one-year extension of the wind production tax credit until Dec. 31. The incentive gives producers a 2.2 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit. The Senate passed the bill early Tuesday, while the House passed it Tuesday night. One member of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, voted against the bill. President Barack Obama was expected to sign the measure but didn’t say when. Uncertainty over the future of the tax credit stalled new wind developments in the second half of 2012.
Cherokee Nation Buys 22 Acres for New $7 Million Health Center
The Cherokee Nation has officially secured the land where it will build its new $7 million health center in Jay, Oklahoma. On December 28, Principal Chief Bill John Baker signed the last documents to finalize the tribe’s purchase of the land. The health center will serve the tribe’s more than 300,000 citizens and create new employment opportunities. Construction for the new 28,000-square-foot health center is expected to begin in early 2013.
Oklahoma DHS needing thousands of new foster families for 2013 part of Pinnacle Plan
With step one in the books, OKDHS is now focusing on the second proposed measure: that no child under six spend the night in a shelter by June 30. The plan also requires an additional 2,000 foster families to host the children. Ronda and Keith Davis didn’t always plan to become foster parents, they say it’s something they fell into. Five years later, they consider it a calling. They’ve now fostered 24 children in addition to five children of their own.
Quote of the Day
Our citizens deserve quality health care, and that is exactly what we are going to give them.
Curtis Snell, District 2 Tribal Councilor on the Cherokee Nation’s planned new $7 million health center in Jay, Oklahoma
Number of the Day
The number of states, including Oklahoma, that have a federally licensed spaceport (a base from which a spacecraft could be launched)
Workplace injuries and illnesses cost U.S. $250 billion annually
On average, there are 23,000 on-the-job injuries in the United States every day. Annually, this adds up to 8.5 million injuries and a huge cost to workers, their families, and our economy (approximately $192 billion, according to J. Paul Leigh of the University of California, Davis). In addition, more than 5,000 deaths result from these workplace injuries. But it’s not injuries alone that workers deal with. Hundreds of thousands of them develop illnesses on the job, costing $58 billion a year. The number of deaths from illness, moreover, is far higher than from injury: an estimated 53,000 annually
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