In The Know: Boren sales tax plan reflects shift in Oklahoma tax base

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

Boren sales tax plan reflects shift in Oklahoma tax base: University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s proposed penny sales tax for education reflects a fundamental shift in the way the state is paying for public schools, higher education and other services. Economists interviewed by Oklahoma Watch expressed concern about reducing the state’s reliance on income taxes and increasing its dependence on sales taxes to finance essential state functions [Oklahoma Watch].

Oklahoma slips as most states show increase in high school graduation rates: High school graduation rates for most states continue to improve, according to preliminary data released Monday by the Obama administration. The majority of states also are showing gains for black and Hispanic students. The Education Department says preliminary data indicate 36 states saw higher graduation rates for the 2013-2014 school year. The biggest gains were in Delaware, Alabama, Oregon, West Virginia and Illinois. Five states had declines: Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma [Associated Press].

2014 Oklahoma Poverty Profile: Did you know that 1 in 6 Oklahomans lived in poverty last year (annual income below $23,850 for a family of four)? Based on recently-released Census Bureau data, OK Policy’s 2014 Poverty Profile breaks down what poverty looks like in our state [OK Policy].

Push to remove exemption from Oklahoma vaccination law expected: The debate over state-mandated childhood vaccinations is expected to warm up when lawmakers return to the Capitol in February. Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, has filed Senate Bill 830 that would remove the personal or religious exemption from the law requiring those attending public or private school to receive vaccinations against diseases such as whooping cough, measles and chickenpox [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma regulators take further action on disposal wells after Cushing earthquakes: The action comes following several earthquakes in the in the Cushing area, home of the nation’s largest commercial oil storage hub. There have been no reports of damage to pipeline or storage infrastructure from a magnitude 4.5 quake on Oct. 10, one of the largest to shake the state this year. There have been 87 earthquakes greater than magnitude-2.5 this year within a 12-mile radius of Cushing [NewsOK].

How Cyndi Munson became the First Asian-American Female State Representative in Oklahoma’s history: Last year, when she ran for Oklahoma state representative, Cyndi Munson kept thinking,Why me? She is a woman, an Asian-American, a Millennial, and a Democrat in a very-red state. Would conservative voters who had never heard of her before really elect this newcomer? At first, the answer was no. She lost to the longtime incumbent. It was a tough blow, but one she says gave her the courage to quit her long-held job as a leading organizer for the Girl Scouts of the USA, and focus on helping more women realize opportunities in politics [Cosmopolitan].

Oklahoma Parole Board says it needs more information about sentencing change: The state Pardon and Parole Board held off revising its commutation procedures Monday after members said they weren’t familiar with details of a widely reported change in sentencing policy. The state Corrections Department, at Gov. Mary Fallin’s recommendation, has changed the way it handles good behavior credits for inmates required to serve 85 percent of their sentence for violent crime. Those inmates now can accumulate the credits from the start of their incarceration, rather than waiting until the 85 percent mark. Under the old policy, they often had to serve more than 90 percent of their sentences in prison [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“My eyes were opened to the clear path for these women to be incarcerated. In a week I would see the cycle of a young girl: she’s low performing at school, comes from a low-income household, she’s a parent by her teenage years, and then she’s in the justice system. And that’s what made me want to run for office. I knew that if we didn’t have policy makers in our state that understood the issues around incarceration and education, my job was going to be this ongoing cycle that would never end.”

-Newly elected Oklahoma Representative Cyndi Munson, speaking about her time at the Girl Scouts Council working with girls who were at risk to enter the juvenile justice system (Source)

Number of the Day


Poverty rate for Oklahomans with a disability in 2014, compared to 15.5% for Oklahomans with no disability.

Source: OK Policy  via the US Census American Community Survey

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why police could seize a college student’s life savings without charging him for a crime: Charles Clarke entered the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport last February eager to go back to his mother after a months-long visit with relatives. But instead of a quick, easy trip home to Orlando, Clarke lost his life savings — $11,000 in cash — to law enforcement officials who never even proved he committed a crime [Vox]. Unlikely allies are pushing to stop this from happening in Oklahoma [OK Policy].

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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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