In The Know: As Oklahoma’s oilfields boom, state tax breaks follow

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that StateImpact Oklahoma reported on controversy over the rapid growth of Oklahoma’s tax breaks to the energy industry. The Tulsa City Council voted to call an election for a $918.7 million sales tax extension to fund street repairs. The Oklahoma City School Board chairman spoke about the diverse student body and complex system that the district’s next superintendent will be responsible for.

A report from the Economic Analysis and Research Network finds more evidence that a well-educated workforce is the most important factor for states’ productivity and wages. A Sapulpa educator has been appointed to direct the implementation of Oklahoma’s new teacher evaluation system.

The prosecutor in the murder of an Australian baseball player in Duncan said tougher gun laws would not have saved the victim, though police have still not found the revolver that was used in the shooting and do not know how the three teens who were charged might have obtained it. This Land Press discussed the international reaction to the shooting, including a call by Australia’s former deputy prime minister to boycott tourism to the U.S. due to lax gun laws.

The Number of the Day is the annual average health allowance for Oklahoma legislators and state employees who receive health insurance as part of their benefit packages. In today’s Policy Note, Wonkblog summarizes what you need to know about President Obama’s new proposal to contain college costs.

In The News

As Oklahoma’s oilfields boom, state tax breaks follow

The energy industry fuels Oklahoma’s economy, and the state is flush with active rigs and plentiful oil and natural gas production. Oklahoma’s oilfields are booming, as are state tax credits for drilling, which is leading some to question whether it’s sound fiscal policy to incentivize a thriving industry. without the horizontal drilling tax breaks,representatives of Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry say many wells would never be drilled. But others aren’t so sure. The technologic risk of horizontal drilling is gone, but the tax break installed to encourage it has stayed, says David Blatt of the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

Read more from StateImpact Oklahoma.

Tulsa City Council approves Tulsa’s largest capital improvement proposal

A historic capital improvements proposal is headed to Tulsa voters Nov. 12 with a concession that will keep a competing county proposal off the ballot. City councilors voted unanimously Thursday night to call an election for a $918.7 million funding package that would leave part of a city sales tax for a future county funding package, preventing a tax increase for people shopping in Tulsa and decreasing a potential increase for those shopping in other parts of the county. The vote means city voters will consider the most money ever placed on a Tulsa ballot: a $355 million all-streets general obligation bond proposition along with a separate ballot item to extend 1.1 percent in sales taxes until the remaining $563.7 million is funded.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

New Oklahoma City schools superintendent to oversee diverse issues

Oklahoma City’s new school superintendent will oversee a diverse, complex school system that, in some ways, looks like several districts lumped together, the Oklahoma City School Board chairman said Thursday. Board Chairman Lynne Hardin said the district’s roughly 45,000 students come from a diverse set of nations, socioeconomic backgrounds and skill levels, many of them plagued by issues like poverty, abuse and homelessness. The board has hired a national search firm to assist the district in finding a new superintendent to lead the district, Hardin said. That process could take up to a year.

Read more from NewsOK.

Report confirms that for states, investing in education is key to prosperity

The best way for Oklahoma to grow its economy is by investing in a well-educated workforce, according to a new paper from the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a project of the Economic Policy Institute. In “A Well-Educated Workforce is Key to State Prosperity,” Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, and Peter Fisher, research director at the Iowa Policy Project, find that the educational attainment of state workforces is strongly linked with both productivity and median wages. At the same time, the study shows that there is no significant link between a state’s tax rates and its wages.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

Sapulpa educator appointed to direct implementation of new teacher evaluations

The Oklahoma State Department of Education announced Aug. 16, the appointment of Dr. Jenyfer Glisson of Sapulpa to direct the newly implemented Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation statute. Glisson has more than 22 years of education experience including positions as high school principal and assistant principal as well as English teacher, coach and administrative intern. In 2009, the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals honored her as High School Principal of the year. Glisson served as principal at Sapulpa High School from 2004 through 2012 school years. Before that, she served as assistant principal from 1999 until 2004.

Read more from the Sapulpa Daily Herald.

DA says tougher gun laws would not have saved murder victim

The prosecutor in a “thrill killing” case here said Thursday more gun laws would not have saved the victim. “These kids are not supposed to have a .22 revolver in the first place,” said Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks, who has charged two teens with first-degree murder and a third teen with accessory to murder. The crime has renewed debate in the United States over gun control and sparked widespread outrage in Australia, where gun laws are tougher. Police still were searching Thursday for the revolver used in the shooting and do not know how the teens might have obtained it.

Read more from NewsOK.

See also: U.S. gun policy blamed for Duncan shooting from This Land Press

Quote of the Day

States can … use their resources in a zero-sum battle with each other to provide incentives to lure companies to one state or another. But all the resources that states waste on those efforts are resources they don’t have to make their people more productive.

-Noah Berger, co-author of study showing that high wages and productivity in states is closely correlated with having a well-educated workforce, but there is no significant link between a state’s tax rates and its wages (Source:

Number of the Day


Annual average health allowance for Oklahoma legislators and/or state employees (and their dependents) who receive health insurance as part of their benefit packages.

Source:  Oklahoma Watch

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Everything you need to know about Obama’s higher ed plan

Yesterday, while at SUNY Buffalo, President Obama unveiled a plan to contain college costs. Let’s break down the big components, and how significant they actually are. This is a really big deal, and contains a lot of stuff the administration hasn’t proposed before. The administration will push for schools’ “College Scorecards” to include information like: • Access, such as percentage of students receiving Pell grants; • Affordability, such as average tuition, scholarships, and loan debt; and • Outcomes, such as graduation and transfer rates, graduate earnings, and advanced degrees of graduates.

Read more from Wonkblog.

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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