Skip to Content

Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special session

by | October 10th, 2017 | Posted in Budget, Capitol Matters | Comments (7)

See this advocacy alert for more info on what you can do to influence lawmakers during special session.

Although the Oklahoma Legislature has convened numerous special sessions in recent decades, none has dealt with issues as sweeping and consequential as the current one. This set of Frequently Asked Questions is intended to help Oklahomans understand the rules guiding the process and the issues being addressed. It will be updated regularly as the session continues.

Continue Reading »

Repeal the capital gains tax break

by | October 10th, 2017 | Posted in Taxes | Comments (0)

A tax break that benefits a small number of wealthy taxpayers and costs the state of Oklahoma around $100 million per year cannot “be credibly shown to have significant economic impact or a positive return on investment for the State,” according to a study presented to Oklahoma’s Incentive Evaluation Commission by a national consulting firm. Lawmakers should heed the advice of the experts and act quickly to repeal this expensive and inefficient tax break.

The study found that over the past five years, Oklahoma’s capital gains deduction has reduced state tax revenues by $474 million while creating just $9 million in additional tax revenue. “This results in a net cost to the State of $465 million,” writes PFM Group Consulting, a firm with extensive experience in evaluating tax incentives that is working under contract with the state’s Incentive Evaluation Commission. The study also found that “over the life of the program, an average of 85.5 percent of the total deduction amount was made by individuals with income equal to or more than $200,000.” By comparison, just 3 percent of all Oklahoma taxpayers make over $200,000, according to 2015 IRS data.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Anti-tax pledge haunts Oklahoma budget talks

by | October 10th, 2017 | 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.

Special elections take place today in 27 counties across the state. Check the list of elections here, and use the Online Voter Tool to view a sample ballot for the elections in your county.

Today In The News

Anti-tax pledge haunts Oklahoma budget talks: If lawmakers agree to raise taxes as part of a deal to save the state budget, some prominent Republican members of the House and Senate may run afoul of a promise they made to their constituents. Six members of the Oklahoma Senate and 17 state representatives have taken a pledge to vote against tax hikes. If lawmakers hammer out a deal over the weekend and return to special session with a revenue package, they could see votes on raising the tax rate on cigarettes, motor fuel and so-called “luxury” services [NewsOK].

Little progress as special session clock ticks: Oklahoma’s 2017 legislative special session has lumbered along in fits and starts, with most of the work going on behind the scenes. Legislative leaders and the governor’s office rattle off ideas behind closed doors. Republicans and Democrats gather at the Capitol every few days for closed-door meetings to decide what, if any, plan has enough votes to pass. One thing is clear: On paper, the Oklahoma Legislature is no closer to a resolution now than when Gov. Mary Fallin ordered them back to the Capitol on Sept. 25 [NewsOK].  Lawmakers must use special session to fix the budget, not pass the buck [OK Policy].

Tulsa drug court to review use of work-based diversion program targeted in Reveal investigation: Tulsa County’s drug court has had “very positive results” from a controversial work-based diversion program, officials said Monday, but the program’s continued use will be reviewed after a national news report raised questions about the legality and treatment of people assigned to it. “In light of these revelations, we will reconsider our use of CAAIR,” said Heather Hope-Hernandez, communications director of the Community Service Council of Tulsa, which administers the county’s drug court program [Tulsa World]. Read the investigation [Reveal].

Continue Reading »

Occupational licensing is a growing barrier to Oklahomans who seek a decent job

by | October 9th, 2017 | Posted in Poverty & Opportunity | Comments (0)

Let’s say you want to change careers. Or maybe you’re a recent graduate thinking about what you’d like to do as you enter the workforce. Like an increasing number of American workers, you might find that stiff requirements to get an occupational license stand in the way.

In theory, occupational license requirements come from a desire to protect the public from harm by someone practicing a profession in an incompetent or unsafe manner. Often, that makes sense.  Doctors must have a license to practice medicine, for example.  To get that license they must prove that they have the necessary education — because if they don’t, patients could be seriously harmed.

However, an increasing number of professions now require a license to practice somewhere in America, and not all of this growth is born of strong public health and safety concerns. In 1950, just 5 percent of the American workforce needed a license to do their job – now it’s nearly 30 percent. In Louisiana, for example, you need a license to be a florist. In 21 states, you’ll need a license to be a travel guide.

The growth in occupational licensing is a concern for many individuals and groups on both sides of the partisan aisle. Free market and libertarian groups like the Institute for Justice and Americans for Prosperity, centrist think tanks like the Brookings Institute, and former president Barack Obama have all advocated for reforms in occupational licensing.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: House will not convene Monday as special session drags on to address $215 million budget hole

by | October 9th, 2017 | 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 In The News

House will not convene Monday as special session drags on to address $215 million budget hole: The Oklahoma House will not return Monday to resume a special session at the Capitol, House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols said Friday. Earlier this week, Echols told members to plan on being in session on Monday. “We are still working on some details,” the Oklahoma City Republican said. Gov. Mary Fallin called lawmakers into special session starting Sept. 25 after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled legislators violated the law in passing what amounted to a $1.50 tax increase on cigarettes. The ruling blew a $215 million hole in the state’s budget. Coupled with a loss of federal dollars, the shortage is closer to $500 million. [Tulsa World] Oklahoma House won’t convene Monday [The Oklahoman] Lawmakers must use special session to fix the budget, not pass the buck [OK Policy]

New poll finds Oklahoma voters want comprehensive revenue deal in special session: A new poll shows a large majority of Oklahoma voters (67 percent) want lawmakers to pass a comprehensive revenue plan in special session that avoids further cuts and funds a teacher pay raise and other critical needs. That compares to just 15 percent of voters who want only a tobacco tax increase without other revenue options and just 11 percent who say the legislature should not pass revenues and allow budget cuts to take effect. [OK Policy]

Continue Reading »

The Weekly Wonk: Majority of Oklahoma voters want lawmakers to pass comprehensive revenue plan in special session

by | October 6th, 2017 | Posted in Blog, Weekly Wonk | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonk_logoWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

OK Policy released a poll Friday revealing that 67 percent of Oklahoma voters want lawmakers to pass a comprehensive revenue plan in special session that avoids further cuts and funds a teacher pay raise and other critical needs. Executive Director David Blatt, in a blog piece and his Journal Record column, reminded us that a good revenue plan must ensure that everyone pays their fair share – regressive taxes that place a heavy burden on low- and moderate-income families cannot be the bulk of our revenue plan. Policy Director Gene Perry shared with us two myths that are distorting the debate over education funding.

OK Policy in the News

The Lawton Constitution covered the Save Our State Coalition’s first community conversation last week  in Lawton – these conversations are designed to bring Oklahomans into the discussion of our budget crisis. Blatt spoke with KFOR about a recent report revealing that Oklahoma is losing an average of $90 million per year to a capital gains tax exemption.

Advocacy Alert

We’re starting week three of special session, and legislators still have not agreed on a revenue solution to the state budget crisis. They need to hear from you – revenues must be raised in order to adequately fund core services. Click here to see our Advocacy Alert to find your legislators and to get more information.

Upcoming Opportunities

The Save Our State Coalition will be hosting a community conversation in Stillwater on October 10th.  Join us for this important conversation about how to fix Oklahoma’s broken budget. Come and share ideas to ensure we are protecting the services Oklahoma families rely on every single day and hear from local educators and community members who’ve been impacted by the recent budget cuts. For more information about the event click here.

Continue Reading »

New poll finds Oklahoma voters want comprehensive revenue deal in special session

by | October 6th, 2017 | Posted in Budget | Comments (2)

A new poll shows a large majority of Oklahoma voters (67 percent) want lawmakers to pass a comprehensive revenue plan in special session that avoids further cuts and funds a teacher pay raise and other critical needs. That compares to just 15 percent of voters who want only a tobacco tax increase without other revenue options and just 11 percent who say the legislature should not pass revenues and allow budget cuts to take effect. Increasing the cigarette tax, raising income tax rates on the highest earners, ending the capital gains tax break, and increasing the initial oil and gas production tax are all options for raising new revenue that a majority of Oklahomans support.

The poll of 400 Oklahoma registered voters was commissioned by Oklahoma Policy Institute and conducted by nationally-respected opinion research firm Global Strategy Group. The full poll results and a memo from Global Strategy Group are available here.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: ‘No budget deal’: Fallin, GOP leaders rebuff House Democratic leader’s promise of bipartisan agreement

by | October 6th, 2017 | 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.

Today In The News

‘No budget deal’: Fallin, GOP leaders rebuff House Democratic leader’s promise of bipartisan agreement: Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday rebuffed reports that a bipartisan budget agreement had been reached. “There is no budget deal,” she said, adding that she is disappointed that more progress had not been made. Her comments came Thursday afternoon after House Minority Leader Scott Inman tried to apply pressure on Republicans to support what he said was a bipartisan budget agreement [Tulsa World]. After it was deemed unconstitutional, the cigarette tax again walks among the living at the Oklahoma Capitol — at least, for now [CNHI]. Lawmakers have good revenue options for special session if they have the will to use them [OK Policy].

Oklahoma Health Officials Warn of Dire Budget Consequences: For 66-year-old Richard Boston, an Army veteran who has been disabled for more than 20 years, Oklahoma’s Advantage program is a lifeline that allows him to continue living in his modest home in southwest Oklahoma City. The state-funded program provides volunteers who do light housework and run errands. It also gives out medical equipment like a lift chair that allows him to get in and out of the bathtub despite his bad knees and back, the result of a disabling fall he suffered during his career as a truck driver [AP]. Unimaginable potentials become imaginable, if Legislature doesn’t get busy soon [Wayne Greene / Tulsa World]. Lawmakers must use special session to fix the budget, not pass the buck [OK Policy].

Lawmakers consider zeroing out zero-emission incentives: Legislators are again considering eliminating tax incentives for electricity generated from renewable resources as one potential way to fill an estimated $215 million budget hole. State Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, said he supports the bills, but his stance on incentives is more philosophical than directed at a particular subset of the energy industry. Oil industry trade group representative Arnella Karges said she disagrees generally with early sunsets for tax credits for any industry [Journal Record]. Oklahoma’s wind subsidies are dwarfed by subsidies to the oil and gas industry [OK Policy].

Continue Reading »

In The Know: It matters who we ask to pay more

by | October 5th, 2017 | 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 In The News

It matters who we ask to pay more: As lawmakers continue to work to develop a plan to address the state’s budget crisis, the top priority has rightly been generating enough new revenue to avoid even more cuts to critical services and to fund longstanding needs like a teacher pay raise. At the same time, with tax increases on the table, we can’t lose sight of who is being asked to pay more. A good revenue plan must also ensure that everyone is contributing their fair share [OK Policy].

Special session’s high stakes sparks ‘big words’ among lawmakers on social media: The mounting pressure on Republican legislators, especially those in the House, is an indicator of just how much is at stake during the Legislature’s current special session. Former Gov. Frank Keating, former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, the State Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, the state’s largest oil and gas associations — who say they’re being “punished by the state” — and local affiliates of national conservative organizations have all been brought to bear [Randy Krehbiel / Tulsa World]. A coalition of state and local residents was in Lawton Tuesday to stir community interest in the state budget crisis [Lawton Constitution]. Bills filed in special session put many options in play [OK Policy].

Government-branded swag bill questioned: A representative’s so-called anti-swag bill has resurfaced following its committee death during the regular session, but critics aren’t moved by its latest updates. State Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, introduced a measure at the end of the regular session to prohibit agencies from buying pens, notepads, squeezable stress balls and other products with printed logos for promotional materials [Journal Record].

Continue Reading »

It matters who we ask to pay more

by | October 4th, 2017 | Posted in Taxes | Comments (1)

As lawmakers continue to work to develop a plan to address the state’s budget crisis, the top priority has rightly been generating enough new revenue to avoid even more cuts to critical services and to fund longstanding needs like a teacher pay raise. At the same time, with tax increases on the table, we can’t lose sight of who is being asked to pay more.  A good revenue plan must also ensure that everyone is contributing their fair share.

One of the most frequently overlooked features of our state’s current tax system is that it is regressive, which means that low- and middle-income families pay substantially more of their income in state and local taxes than do wealthier families.  The median Oklahoma household with annual income between $33,000 and $53,000 pays 9.4 percent of their income in combined state and local taxes, while the wealthiest households with annual income over $176,000 pay under 6 percent, according to a 2015 analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Continue Reading »

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 380