Too Much of a Good Thing? Exceeding Rainy Day Fund cap would leave critical needs underfunded

Our healthy fiscal outlook provides a great opportunity to build on the progress made last year by making sizeable investments in critical needs that have long gone unmet. However, Governor Kevin Stitt, in his FY 2020 budget blueprint, suggested going in a different direction. The Governor’s approach would tilt the budget too heavily towards savings at the expense of key investments that are urgently needed to promote Oklahoma’s prosperity and well-being. [More...]

Report: Despite gains from teacher walkout, Oklahoma school funding is still way down

For the past five years Oklahoma has led the nation for the largest per-pupil cuts to education funding since the Great Recession, according to an annual report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). This year's report, released today, finds that Oklahoma has finally moved out of the bottom spot in per pupil formula funding cuts thanks to last year’s teacher pay raise funded by the Legislature on the eve of the statewide teacher walkout. However, despite these gains, Oklahoma remains well below pre-Recession levels in per-pupil funding and still has cut more than any state other than Texas. [More...]

Bill Watch: Quieter year expected on the tax front

Some of the fiercest battles of recent legislative sessions have centered on tax policy as lawmakers debated competing tax proposals to limit funding cuts and provide teachers a raise. This year, thanks to a strong economy and recent tax increases, the state's budget outlook is greatly improved. Yet even if the stakes are lower, lawmakers still filed hundreds of bills this session that would revise Oklahoma's tax system. [More...]

Budget outlook offers opportunities, but challenges remain

After a decade of ongoing shortfalls and repeated cuts to core services, Oklahoma’s finances are finally in recovery. Revenues are growing and lawmakers are expected to have substantially more money for next year’s budget, according to initial projections that were… Read more “Budget outlook offers opportunities, but challenges remain” [More...]

Oklahoma’s revenue growth is welcome but not a windfall (Capitol Update)

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. Those who rely on state funding to provide services to Oklahomans heard more good news this week… Read more “Oklahoma’s revenue growth is welcome but not a windfall (Capitol Update)” [More...]

The official SQ 780 savings calculation rests on flawed assumptions

Two years ago, Oklahoma voters passed State Questions 780 and 781, together known as the Smart Justice Reform Act. SQ 780 reclassified simple drug possession and many low-level property crimes as misdemeanors rather than felonies. SQ 781 directs the Office of… Read more “The official SQ 780 savings calculation rests on flawed assumptions” [More...]

The state budget is growing but is not fully recovered

As Oklahoma heads into a new budget year and closes the books on FY 2018, two things are especially clear: Oklahoma’s fiscal situation is much improved, but we still have a long ways to go to recover from a decade… Read more “The state budget is growing but is not fully recovered” [More...]

With revenue growing again, can Oklahoma make up for a lost decade? (Capitol Update)

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. According to State Treasurer Ken Miller, gross receipts to the state treasury during FY-18 were at an… Read more “With revenue growing again, can Oklahoma make up for a lost decade? (Capitol Update)” [More...]

What we know – and don’t know – about the revenue bill veto challenge

In late March, on the eve of an anticipated teacher walk-out, Oklahoma lawmakers approved a series of bills intended to provide pay raises for teachers, school support staff, and state employees. To pay for the raises, lawmakers approved a number… Read more “What we know – and don’t know – about the revenue bill veto challenge” [More...]

Bill Watch: This year in #okleg

Last week, the Oklahoma legislature adjourned one of the more extraordinary legislative sessions in recent memory – one that followed one special session, ran partially concurrently with another, included nine days of protests at the Capitol, saw the Legislature raise… Read more “Bill Watch: This year in #okleg” [More...]