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
The Case for and Against Tapping the State’s Tobacco Fund: With another sizable budget shortfall looming, and state agencies pleading for help, some Oklahoma lawmakers are turning hungrily to one of the state’s biggest heaps of public cash. The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, valued at $1.1 billion, has become a tempting target for legislators who want to redirect the flow of TSET funds to core state services not directly related to the agency’s mission. At least 10 bills have been filed for the upcoming legislative session that would channel TSET money to, among other things, health care for the poor, mental-health services and a pay raise for teachers [Oklahoma Watch].
Expert: Tax bill has ‘credit negative’ implications for health systems: In December, President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, effective Jan. 1. Much has been written about how those changes to the Internal Revenue Tax Code will affect businesses, but little has been said about how the tax bill will affect municipal, nonprofit hospitals like those in the Norman Regional Health System [Norman Transcript].
Freshmen lawmakers seek better culture in OK House: During Meloyde Blancett’s three decades in the business world, she never considered herself a partisan person. She still doesn’t, despite representing Oklahoma House District 78 in Tulsa as a Democrat. “I used to call myself a ‘Republicrat’ because I didn’t really have a flavor. It’s more policy related for me,” Blancett said. “I don’t mean to say I’m not loyal to the Democratic Party, I just don’t live and die by that. I just don’t because I think that’s dysfunctional.” [NonDoc]
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