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In The Know: Low Pay No. 1 Reason Oklahoma Teachers Quit, Survey Says

by | January 23rd, 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.

It’s your lucky day: We’ve got just a few tickets left for the 2018 State Budget Summit! We’ll keep selling tickets until 4pm today or or until they run out, whichever comes first. Click here to buy your tickets now.

Today In The News

Low Pay No. 1 Reason Oklahoma Teachers Quit, Survey Says: The State Department of Education surveyed thousands of former teachers about why they left the profession, and what it would take to get them back. The survey results, released Monday, suggest most quit because of low pay. Survey Details: When asked the open-ended question, “Why did you quit teaching in Oklahoma Public Schools?” 34 percent of respondents cited pay or a better opportunity. However, when given a multiple-choice question, 48 percent of respondents chose pay as the most important factor in their decision to quit teaching [StateImpact Oklahoma]. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced her department’s proposed budget will include $289 million for a statewide $5,000 salary increase [NewsOK]. Another year goes by, and Oklahoma still leads the nation for cuts to education [OK Policy].

Oklahoma teachers continue wait for pay raise a decade after last increase: Cache Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Corey Holland worries about losing teachers due to low pay. But he’s especially concerned with the idea of potential teachers rejecting the career before they ever get started. “My oldest son loved being around students, went on church mission trips, was a summer sponsor for church camp and volunteer coach; he is the kind of person we need around kids,” Holland said [NewsOK].

Special session call amended: Gov. Mary Fallin adjusted the list of policies she will allow the Legislature to tackle during the second special session, and the new version looks similar to the Step Up Oklahoma plan. Her office issued a news release Friday evening, announcing she had updated the call to include several provisions, including new taxes on oil and gas, renewable energy generation, cigarettes and motor fuels [Journal Record]. Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special session [OK Policy].

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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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The Weekly Wonk: Step Up Coalition’s budget plan is a big deal

by | January 19th, 2018 | 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

Executive Director David Blatt shared his thoughts on the recently proposed budget plan from the Step Up Coalition in his Journal Record column – it’s a big deal. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update also offered an assessment of the Step Up plan – it’s a promising start, but there’s still work to do. Medicaid work requirements are gaining steam at the federal level, and Policy Anlayst Carly Putman told us why it’s a bad idea for Oklahoma. 

Upcoming Opportunities

The last chance to purchase tickets for the 2018 State Budget Summit is Monday, January 22nd! Click here for the full program or, to purchase tickets, click here. The cost of the Summit is $90 and includes lunch and a light breakfast. The State Budget Summit is a unique opportunity for policymakers, leaders and staff from government, business, and non-profit organizations, advocates, educators, and others to become better informed and more effectively engaged. We look forward to seeing you there!

Richard Rothstein will speak at the University of Tulsa on Thursday, January 25th, about his most recent book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. The event is free and open to the public.  Click here for more information.

Weekly What’s That

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that governs how states provide special education to children with disabilities. IDEA was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 as the Education for Handicapped Children Act, and the most recent changes to the law were passed by Congress in 2004. The Act requires that public schools create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each student who is eligible under federal and state disability standards. Click here to read more.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“Every school should be taking these students. These students have a right given by our constitution to be educated.”

– Rep. Lee Denny, on the news that some Oklahoma private schools offering tax-credit tuition scholarships turn away students with disabilities. Denny authored the legislation that created the scholarship in 2011 (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Writers, Tulsa World

Far too many Oklahomans get cancer, and when they get it, they’re much more likely to die from it than other Americans. The reason Oklahomans are more likely to die from cancer is obvious: Too many Oklahomans don’t have health care coverage. The state has the nation’s second highest uninsured rate. People without health insurance are less likely to have a physician’s help in addressing preventive lifestyle issues, including smoking; less likely to have their cancers diagnosed and treated early, a clear factor in cancer survival; and less likely to have their cancers treated aggressively and successfully. The result is more cancer deaths and higher costs to the state and hospitals, which end up absorbing late-stage cancer cases for the uninsured.

Numbers of the Day

  • $56,900 – Median family income among households with children in Oklahoma in 2016
  • 395% – Average payday loan interest rate in Oklahoma in 2017
  • 12.91 – Black infant mortality rate per 1000 live births in OK, 2013-2015.OK ranks 6th worst nationally. According to the CIA Worldfact book, developing countries with similar infant mortality rates are Saudi Arabia, Guam, Oman, and Armenia
  • $162.6 million – Amount of marketing money spent by tobacco industry in Oklahoma in 2017

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least? [New York Times]
  • The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About [NPR]
  • Goodbye, George Bailey: Decline of Rural Lending Crimps Small-Town Business [The Wall Street Journal]
  • How The Gap Used an App to Give Workers More Control Over Their Schedules [Harvard Business Review]

‘Step Up’ Coalition adds to the conversation, but plenty of work left to do (Capitol Update)

by | January 19th, 2018 | Posted in Budget, Capitol Updates | Comments (0)

Steve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1991. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol.

There were significant developments this past week regarding the budget crisis. A group of about 70 business leaders who voluntarily associated themselves together under the name, “Step Up Oklahoma,” has announced agreement on revenue increases amounting to $790.7 million from multiple sources.

The largest amounts would come from the $1.50 per pack cigarette tax ($243.9 million); individual income tax “reform” ($175 million); a 6-cent per gallon motor fuel tax increase ($170.4 million); and increasing the gross production tax from 2 percent to 4 percent during the first three years of production ($133.5 million.) Smaller amounts would be generated from increases on other forms of tobacco, a new wind generation tax, reducing transferable and refundable tax credits, and allowing new kinds of gambling with dice and cards in tribal casinos.

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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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Oklahoma ​should avoid the temptation to pass new Medicaid​ restrictions​

by | January 18th, 2018 | Posted in Healthcare | Comments (1)

Recently the Trump Administration opened the door to serious new restrictions on Medicaid by announcing they would allow and encourage states to impose ​employment and other “community engagement” requirements on working-age adults. Ten states have already submitted requests to do so, although just one state, Kentucky, has been approved so far.

Oklahoma lawmakers might be tempted to follow suit. They shouldn’t be. Most Medicaid-eligible adults who can work already do, and ​most of the rest have barriers to employment ​that ​a work requirement won’t fix. ​Restricting Medicaid with a work requirement ​would create expensive new bureaucracy and ​prevent Oklahomans from getting important care without paying off in any significant savings for the state.

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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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The Weekly Wonk: Roadside cameras won’t reduce the number of uninsured drivers

by | January 12th, 2018 | 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

Policy Analyst Courtney Cullison wrote about the state’s plan to reduce the number of uninsured drivers – using roadside cameras to catch and ticket uninsured cars won’t result in more drivers buying insurance. Intern Lydia Lapidus shared a story about one nonprofit’s work to end hunger in Oklahoma schools.

Executive Director David Blatt argued in his Journal Record column that the Affordable Care Act is still very much alive despite many recent attempts to kill or undermine the law. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update tackled the proposal to allow local school districts to generate increased local funding for schools without losing state funding – it’s a potentially dangerous idea that would likely result in significant inequities across the state.

OK Policy in the News

The Lawton Constitution used OK Policy data for a story about a local poverty-fighting initiative. Information from Policy Director Gene Perry’s blog post about SQ 640 was used by Joe Hight in his column for the Journal Record. Blatt spoke with the Journal Record  for their piece on the budget compromise plan presented by the Step Up Oklahoma coalition.

Upcoming Opportunities

Tickets are still available for the 2018 State Budget Summit, featuring keynote speaker Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution and a host of key Oklahoma policymakers. Click here to get your tickets and join us on January 25th ate the Downtown/Medical Center Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City. We look forward to see you!

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