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Today In The News
Mental health providers given details of planned state funding cuts: The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services began delivering the bad news to providers on Tuesday. Meeting behind closed doors at the agency’s headquarters Tuesday afternoon, providers were told how the department plans to shed 23 percent of its budget — $75 million — beginning Dec. 1. Those plans will be made public at a 1 p.m. Wednesday news conference [Tulsa World]. If lawmakers wait until regular session to fix the budget, it will already be too late [OK Policy]. Lawmakers must use special session to fix the budget, not pass the buck [OK Policy].
Lawmakers discuss budget deal at Governor’s Mansion: The Oklahoma Capitol is closed for business, but House and Senate leadership are holding off-site budget meetings. One of the spots where those meetings have been held is the Governor’s Mansion, where lawmakers are working to come up with compromises to determine how to fill a $215 million budget hole. Some of the potential areas include raising taxes on cigarettes, gasoline, income on high earners and gross production for oil and gas [KOCO].
Is Oklahoma spending more than ever? Only if you ignore inflation: As Oklahoma’s elected officials wrestle to close a budget gap, a recent op-ed from the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs argued that tax hikes shouldn’t be part of the solution. “Why do we need to raise taxes if the government is already spending more than ever before,” the conservative think tank wrote. “State government spending is at an all-time high. The state is on track to spend more in this fiscal year — more than $17.9 billion — than at any time in state history.” Where does the state money go? [Politifact] Two big myths that distort Oklahoma’s education funding debate [OK Policy].
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