In The Know: David Boren proposes $0.01 sales tax to fund education

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 In The News

Coalition forming for $0.01 sales tax to fund education: OU President David L. Boren is helping form a coalition of business and civic leaders that will push a statewide initiative petition to propose a $0.01 sales tax increase to voters. The state revenue generated would specifically fund education [NonDoc]. Sales tax is regressive, meaning it hurts lower-income earners a lot more than it impacts rich people [Governing]. Oklahomans pay some of the highest combined state and local sales taxes in the US [Tulsa World].

State board approves 157 more emergency teaching certificates: The Oklahoma State Department of Education on Thursday announced the launch of a task force and received board approval for 157 more emergency teaching certificates to allow applicants who haven’t completed basic higher education and training requirements to enter the classroom right away. After the board already approved 685 emergency certificates in July and August, the new total for the year comes to 842, higher than the combined total for the prior four years [Tulsa World].

Is Oklahoma headed for a revenue shortfall?: The next legislative session is still four months off, and we’re nine long months out from the start of the next fiscal year. Yet concern is already mounting that the state’s protracted budget crisis is likely to get more severe. There’s no reliable way to predict what the revenue picture will look like over the coming months, although there are certainly troubling economic indicators [OK Policy].

Majority of Oklahomans support civil asset reform, SoonerPoll shows: Nearly 70 percent of Oklahomans believe people who have had property confiscated by police without being convicted of a crime has been denied their constitutional rights, according to the latest SoonerPoll released Thursday. Civil asset forfeiture has been a sparkplug issue since state Sen. Kyle Loveless introduced legislation in May that would significantly reform the system and require a criminal conviction before law enforcement agencies could keep property or cash typically seized in a traffic stop [Red Dirt Report].

Judge gives go ahead for Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer pumping limits:  Oklahoma County District Judge Barbara Swinton on Wednesday ordered the long disputed limits on how much water can be taken from one of the state’s most sensitive aquifers — the Arbuckle-Simpson in south-central Oklahoma — to go forward. The court was hearing an appeal of the limit from groups including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahoma Aggregates Association, and mining company TXI — all petitioners in the case [StateImpact].

Worst-case scenario: Officials in Cushing consider plan for larger quakes: An earthquake swarm that began Sept. 1 rattled the world’s largest oil hub. About 300 storage tanks filled with 54 million barrels of crude oil experienced vibrations, and Cushing Fire Chief Chris Pixler said it’s not clear if the structures can withstand damage from a massive earthquake. There’s no way for local first responders to have a worst-case scenario preparedness plan if all storage tanks were damaged by large earthquakes, he said [Journal Record].

64 of 112 Tulsa County reserve deputies’ files missing training, qualification records: More than half of Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputies’ files were missing mandatory training hour records and yearly firearms qualification documentation, and nine advanced reserves hadn’t met minimum service hour requirements, an internal audit of the files found. Eight reserve deputies have resigned from the office this year [Tulsa World]. The Sheriff’s Office spent at least $23,000 unsuccessfully fighting a grand jury petition seeking to unseat the Sheriff [Tulsa World].

Museums struggle in wake of state cuts: At the Atoka Museum and Confederate Cemetery, Site Manager Gwen Walker has learned to stretch her budget. “I’ll put myself up against anyone when it comes to stretching a dollar,” she said. “We do what we can.” Walker has volunteered since the museum opened in 1986. She has never drawn a salary. The museum received $9,450 from the state in 2014, making up a third of its budget [Journal Record].

Trump stop in Oklahoma City angers state’s Hispanics: The air conditioner hums in Fredy Valencia’s office in south Oklahoma City – a tiny covey in an church with a desk, a computer and a few worn chairs. Sitting at his computer, Valencia works on plans for a protest he is helping lead during Donald Trump’s campaign stop this Friday at the Oklahoma state fair [KGOU].

Register for Fall Policy Boot Camp: The deadline to register for our first Fall Policy Book Camp is Tuesday, Sept. 29. The program, a condensed version of the four-day Summer Policy Institute (SPI) that OK Policy hosts for college students,  will consist primarily of overview presentations by OK Policy staff on the major policy issues we work on, including budget and taxes, education, health care and poverty [OK Policy].

Quote of the Day

“I want to see us elevate our teaching profession so that we recognize the skills that our teachers bring in their profession. We can have the highest standards in the world, but if we don’t have the teachers, what good are they?”

– State Superintendent of Education Joy Hofmeister, speaking at a Sand Springs Parent Action and Advocacy Team meeting (Source)

Number of the Day


Families with children ages 0 to 8 where no available parent had full-time, year-round employment in Oklahoma in 2012

Source: Kids Count.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

These kids were geniuses — they were just too poor for anyone to discover them: In 2003, Cynthia Park asked her staff to make a map showing where every gifted student lived in Broward County, Fla. The result was an atlas of inequality. “All of them were scattered in the suburbs and in the wealthier communities, where parents were more involved in education,” recalls Park, who oversaw the county’s gifted students program. “The map was virtually void in other areas.” [Washington Post].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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