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In The Know Archives

In The Know: Governor, Legislature make plans to consider Step Up Oklahoma proposals

by | January 22nd, 2018 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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 is the final day to get tickets for the 2018 State Budget Summit on Thursday, January 25th! Click here to get your’s now.

Today In The News

Governor, Legislature make plans to consider Step Up Oklahoma proposals: Gov. Mary Fallin announced Friday that she is amending her call for the Oklahoma Legislature’s second special session to permit lawmakers to consider a series of revenue-raising measures, reforms and teacher pay raise proposals that mirror proposals advocated by a coalition of Oklahoma business and civic leaders. [The Oklahoman] Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special session [OK Policy]

Proposed income tax changes offer protections for low wage earners: Fifty-five percent of individuals filing Oklahoma tax returns would experience either a decrease or no change in their state income tax liability under a series of changes to the state’s income tax laws backed by a coalition of Oklahoma business and civic leaders. [The Oklahoman] ‘Step Up’ Coalition adds to the conversation, but plenty of work left to do [OK Policy]

Oklahoma likely to lead the nation in incarceration by 2019 amid ‘limited’ reforms, DOC director says: The number of people sentenced to Oklahoma prisons in 2017 fell slightly, but the state remains second in the nation in overall incarceration and could be ranked first by the end of this year. [Tulsa World] What works to stop crime (hint: it’s not incarceration) [OK Policy]

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In The Know: Advocates back proposed pay hike for state employees

by | January 19th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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.

The 2018 State Budget Summit is less than a week away! Get your tickets before registration closes on Monday, January 22nd.

Today In The News

Advocates back proposed pay hike for state employees: When Carrie Croy first began working for the Department of Corrections 14 years ago, she never thought she’d have to take on a second job just to pay the bills. After all, Croy said Thursday, she was a military veteran, had a bachelor’s degree and planned to advance her career with more education. “I now hold two master’s degrees and still have two jobs,” said Croy, who works as a probation and parole officer for the state and also for her apartment complex [NewsOK]. Oklahoma House gives some staff pay raises amid budget crisis [FOX25].

Edmondson wants gross production tax raised to 7 percent: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson praised business leaders for recognizing the state has a “revenue problem” but said he would raise taxes on oil and gas production higher than proposed by the Step Up Oklahoma coalition. “I think what they have done is commendable,” Edmondson said of the revenue and reform package unveiled last week by the group of business and civic leaders [NewsOK].

Proposed raid on school land fund not legal, official says: Three legislators’ plan to take money from the corpus of the state’s $2.4 billion school land trust fund to pay for teachers’ raises would literally take an act of Congress — and a state constitutional amendment — the official in charge of the trust said Thursday. “We’re not against salary increases for teachers,” said Commissioners of the Land Office Secretary Harry Birdwell. “But this is not a source that can do this. You’d have to change the (state) constitution and the Oklahoma Enabling Act.” [Tulsa World] Another year goes by, and Oklahoma still leads the nation for cuts to education [OK Policy].

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In The Know: Oklahoma oil and gas trade groups support industry tax hike

by | January 18th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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

Oklahoma oil and gas trade groups support industry tax hike: Two of Oklahoma’s largest oil and natural gas industry trade groups say they support a plan to increase the state’s energy production tax as part of a broad tax plan to help fund a teacher pay raise and stabilize state revenues. The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association both announced Tuesday they were backing the plan unveiled last week by a group of state business and civic leaders [NewsOK].

OEA joins Step Up Oklahoma in push for teacher pay hikes: The Oklahoma Education Association announced Wednesday that it has joined a coalition of Oklahoma civic and business leaders who are backing a package of proposals to resolve the state’s budget impasse and provide $5,000 pay increases for teachers and principals. ..OEA officials said the proposed $5,000 teacher pay raise would partially close the pay gap between Oklahoma and surrounding states. The OEA has been advocating for a $10,000 pay raise for teachers, a $5,000 pay raise for support employees and a cost-of-living increase for retirees [NewsOK].

Experts say Step Up’s tax plan raises questions: An outside group lobbying legislators for a tax overhaul announced more specifics about its income tax policy pitch on Wednesday, suggesting that updates could generate about $175 million in new revenue. Economists and policy analysts had mixed opinions on the plan, which would lower rates for several households but cap some deductions. Many said the plan, which was encapsulated in a quick-facts sheet, raised many questions: Namely, how does lowering rates lead to so much new revenue? [Journal Record]

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In The Know: DHS reports progress in improving foster care system

by | January 17th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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

DHS reports progress in improving foster care system: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) has made “discernible progress” in its efforts to reform the state’s foster care system, according to a DHS press release. Progress was reported by child welfare experts, referred to as Co-Neutrals, monitoring the agency’s efforts to implement the Pinnacle Plan, a 2012 plan that was implemented in the wake of a class action civil rights lawsuit filed against the state’s foster care system [Enid News].

Hearings for FY2019 budget begin: Lawmakers are still working on this year’s budget, but on Tuesday they got the ball rolling on next year’s. A few agencies are funded only through May of this year, and lawmakers are expected to return to the Capitol sometime this month to finish a budget for fiscal 2018, which ends June 30. The Oklahoma Senate began its agency budget hearings Tuesday [Journal Record]. The Oklahoma Mental Health agency made a $197M budget request [Public Radio Tulsa]. Oklahoma Department of Corrections presents 2019 budget request, includes 2 new prisons [KFOR].

Oklahoma voters want better funding for education: Voters are fed up. As lawmakers approach the beginning of the legislative session, they should be troubled by the result of a poll conducted by the Oklahoma Education Association. When it comes to education funding, the Legislature has only a 7 percent approval rating among Oklahoma voters [Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest / NewsOK]. Another year goes by, and Oklahoma still leads the nation for cuts to education [OK Policy].

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In The Know: State lawmakers eyeing budget, revenue fixes with new bills

by | January 16th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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

State lawmakers eyeing budget, revenue fixes with new bills: Oklahoma lawmakers have begun filing legislation for the 2018 session, which begins Feb. 5. While many of the bills already introduced are standard fare for a legislative session, several focus on the most pressing issues at the state Capitol: revenue and the budget. State Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, seeks to amend the law that requires a portion of public construction projects to set aside money for public art installations [NewsOK]. Other bills deal with sunscreen, chemical castration, and school consolidation [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma revenue, reform plan is worth pursuing: Weary of watching Oklahoma slide toward the bottom of so many national rankings, and frustrated with inaction driven by political expediency, a coalition of citizens has given the Legislature a revenue and reform package to consider when the special session resumes this month. The Oklahoman supports the plan and urges citizens and lawmakers to as well [Editorial Board / NewsOK]. Here’s a plan to solve the state’s budget problems that everyone should get behind [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]. Let’s hope lawmakers step up [Editorial Board / Enid News].

Incarceration Numbers Stay Relatively Flat Despite Justice Reforms: The number of people sentenced to Oklahoma prisons in 2017 fell slightly, but the state remains second in the nation in overall incarceration and could be ranked first by the end of this year. Oklahoma Department of Corrections data shows that on the last working day of 2017, a total of 28,153 inmates were in state prisons, halfway houses or in jails awaiting transfer to prisons. That was a less than 1 percent decline from the end of 2016 [Oklahoma Watch]. The DOC called the federal estimate of state prison population misleading [Tulsa World]. What’s driving Oklahoma’s prison population growth? [OK Policy]

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In The Know: Statewide business, civic leaders offer revenue, reform package

by | January 12th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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 is the last day to take advantage of the early bird discount for tickets for the 2018 State Budget Summit, featuring keynote speaker Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution and a host of key Oklahoma policymakers. Ticket prices will increase from $75 to $90 on January 13th, so click here to get yours now. 

Note: In The Know is taking a break for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will return Tuesday.

Today In The News

Statewide business, civic leaders offer revenue, reform package: Frustrated by a legislative budget impasse that has stalled state progress, a statewide coalition of Oklahoma business and civic leaders proposed a comprehensive solution Thursday that would increase state revenues, fund $5,000 teacher pay raises and alter the structure of state and county government. The proposal calls for raising gross production, motor fuel and cigarette taxes, while eliminating certain individual income tax deductions and loopholes [NewsOK]. The plan faces an uphill battle [Tulsa World].

Organizations speak out about ‘Step Up Oklahoma’ revenue plan: A nonpartisan group of Oklahoma business, civic and community leaders announced their own plan on raising revenue and funding core services. Organizers say “Step Up Oklahoma” has created a plan that addresses waste and abuse through reforms and ending the boom and bust cycle of state government [KFOR]. We must end oil and gas tax breaks to save Oklahoma communities [OK Policy].

Governor, School Leaders Discuss State Of Education In Oklahoma: School leaders from around the state had some face time with the Governor, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, and some legislators. Governor Mary Fallin was the first to address the group. She renewed her commitment to a teacher pay raise even saying she would veto a 2018 budget without one. Then, Joy Hofmeister discussed her plan to what she calls “meaningful change” in Oklahoma Education [News 9].

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In The Know: Fallin would veto another budget lacking teacher raise

by | January 11th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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.

The State Budget Summit, featuring keynote speaker Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution and a host of key Oklahoma policymakers, is coming up fast! This is the last week to take advantage of the early bird discount for tickets. Ticket prices will increase on January 13th, so click here to get yours now. 

Today In The News

Fallin would veto another budget lacking teacher raise: Gov. Mary Fallin said she would veto another proposed budget that doesn’t include a pay raise for teachers, something she called a top priority headed into her final year in office. Following an address to dozens of school superintendents on Wednesday, in which she talked about the need for a teacher pay raise, Fallin was asked by a reporter if she would veto a budget that did not include a salary increase for educators. “In the second special session? Yeah, I would,” Fallin said [NewsOK].

Poll: Likely voters would support teacher raise with gross production tax hike, give lawmakers low marks on education funding: More than half of the respondents to a poll released Wednesday believe that education funding should be increased, even if it means raising taxes. The poll was commissioned by the Oklahoma Education Association and was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research Inc., based in Colorado. The results are based on 502 random telephone interviews among likely voters in the November 2018 Oklahoma elections [Tulsa World]. Most Oklahoma voters have a positive opinion of President Donald Trump, while Gov. Mary Fallin and the state Legislature received negative ratings from most voters in a recent poll [NewsOK]. The survey is available here. We must end oil and gas tax breaks to save Oklahoma communities [OK Policy].

Petition to increase teacher pay faces legal challenge from oil and gas group: Legal challenges were filed Wednesday against a recently announced initiative petition seeking a vote to increase the gross production tax to fund teacher pay raises. The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association filed two challenges to State Question 795 with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The state question petition, spearheaded by Restore Oklahoma Now Inc., seeks signatures to put on the ballot a proposal to raise the rate on new wells to 7 percent from 2 percent in order to fund a $4,000 teacher pay raise [Tulsa World].

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In The Know: Budget crisis could disrupt ‘fragile’ improvements in child welfare, monitors of DHS plan say

by | January 10th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (1)

In The KnowIn 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.

The State Budget Summit, featuring keynote speaker Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution and a host of key Oklahoma policymakers, is coming up fast! This is the last week to take advantage of the early bird discount for tickets. Ticket prices will increase on January 13th, so click here to get yours now.

Today In The News

Budget crisis could disrupt ‘fragile’ improvements in child welfare, monitors of DHS plan say: Noticeable progress within the child welfare division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services has been made, but it’s far from a permanent change in the system or culture. On Tuesday, the monitors of the Pinnacle Plan released their bi-annual report of the agency’s reform effort, which launched in 2012 after a negotiated settlement in a federal class-action lawsuit that alleged abuses in foster care. The three-person panel tracks 31 areas within the foster-care system including shelter use, recruitment of foster homes, placements of children and maltreatment in care [Tulsa World].

Tax revenue beats estimate but officials warn it’s no budget fix: General Revenue Fund collections in December totaled $512.6 million and were $36.6 million, or 7.7 percent, above the monthly estimate. Collections for the month were $93.1 million, or 22.2 percent, more than collections in December 2016, according to a monthly report from Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger. Collections over the first six months of the fiscal year that started July 1 totaled $2.7 billion, which was $75.2 million, or 2.9 percent, more than estimates for the first six months of the fiscal year and $278.1 million, or 11.6 percent, more than collections for the first six months of the previous fiscal year [Journal Record].

Oklahoma House bill would lower revenue-raising threshold: An Oklahoma lawmaker wants voters to amend the state constitution to lower the number of lawmakers required to approve revenue-raising measures. Republican House Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright filed a bill Friday that calls for a statewide vote to amend a constitutional amendment voters approved in 1992. Wright, of Weatherford, says the current threshold has stymied lawmakers’ ability to raise revenue to adequately provide for core services like public education [AP]. It’s time to revisit State Question 640 [Rep. Marcus McEntire / OK Policy].

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In The Know: Gov. Fallin hopeful ‘backup support from community leaders’ will push through budget fix

by | January 9th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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.

The State Budget Summit, featuring keynote speaker Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution and a host of key Oklahoma policymakers, is coming up fast! This is the last week to take advantage of the early bird discount for tickets. Ticket prices will increase on January 13th, so click here to get yours now.

Today In The News

Gov. Fallin hopeful ‘backup support from community leaders’ will push through budget fix: Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday that she is hopeful lawmakers can craft a solution to the state’s current budget problem before the start of their next regular session in February. The governor is banking on a coalition of organizations, individuals and businesses to help lawmakers come up with a response to the recurring budget hole the state finds itself in as a result of tax cuts, declining oil prices and an inability to reduce tax incentives designed to generate economic development [Tulsa World]. Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special session [OK Policy].

Three reasons Oklahoma fiscal crisis hasn’t passed: Oklahoma’s fiscal landslide might finally be easing. Thank goodness. State Treasurer Ken Miller reports that in 2017, state revenue increased in comparison to the same months in 2016, 11 of 12 months. A year ago, the state was facing a huge and terrifying decrease in state revenue, caused by a faltering economy and bad fiscal choices by the Oklahoma Legislature. Every major revenue stream in the state was declining [Editorial Board / Tulsa World].

School consolidation plan could present taxpayers with math problem: As Oklahoma get closer to the deadline for administrative service consolidation, some education advocates said one financial issue is often overlooked. Any school district that absorbed another would have to assume that district’s bond debt. That would mean residents and businesses in the area would have to pay the increased property tax rate those bond issues require. Residents and school boards already make that decision on their own, but requiring areas to do so could become controversial [Journal Record].

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In The Know: Local lawmakers waiting to hear from leadership

by | January 8th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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.

This is the last week to take advantage of the early bird discount for tickets to our State Budget Summit on January 25th! Ticket prices will increase on January 13th so click here to get yours now.

Today In The News

Local lawmakers waiting to hear from leadership: Oklahoma’s second special session is supposed to be looking for a budget fix, but most lawmakers are back in their districts as negotiations are conducted by legislative leaders behind closed doors.With the Legislature convening for its regular 2018 session on Feb. 5, there is some talk about what effect the special session can have. [Tahlequah Daily Press] Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special session [OK Policy]

New Year, Same Budget Issues: Oklahoma lawmakers are still in a special session looking to find additional revenue, one month before the next regular session is scheduled to begin. If nothing else is done to provide additional revenue, the next session will begin on February 5 with a $425 million hole. [Capitol Insider/KGOU] Oklahoma’s budget outlook is improving, but major challenges remain [OK Policy]

Tulsa, Oklahoma Pre-K Shows Benefits Into Middle School: Middle school-students who were enrolled in Tulsa’s prekindergarten program as 4-year-olds were more likely to be enrolled in honors courses, and were less likely to be retained in a grade compared to their peers who were not enrolled in pre-K. That’s according to the latest study to find long-lasting benefits from high quality early-childhood education. [Education Week]

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