In 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. E-mail your suggestions for In The Know items to email@example.com. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.
Today you should know that Gov. Fallin issued a statement criticizing the President’s energy policy and his motives for visiting Oklahoma. The President defended his record on energy and ordered federal agencies to quickly review and continue to support the Cushing pipeline project. Economist Kent Olson wrote in the Oklahoman about the hazards of basing tax policy decisions on ‘voodoo economics.’
State Senator Sean Burrage warned of deep cuts to public education and critical state services if the income tax is eliminated. A new report found that states without an income tax have higher sales and property taxes. The Oklahoma Policy Institute will host the state’s most respected economists and economic developers at a free public forum on April 5th to discuss legislative proposals to eliminate the state income tax.
Tribal leaders met with the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and urged him to hire an area director for Oklahoma, a slot that has been vacant for some time. Lawmakers filed a resolution to raise awareness about the growing crisis of hunger in the state. In today’s Policy Note, a new report from the Center for Housing Policy found that the share of working households paying more than half their income for housing rose significantly between 2008 and 2010 for both renters and owners. The Number of the Day is the percentage of marriages in Oklahoma between people of a different race or ethnicity, 2nd most in the nation.
In The News
Gov. Fallin Issues Statement Regarding Obama’s Remarks
Gov. Mary Fallin released the following statement Thursday, regarding President Obama’s remarks on energy policy during a visit to Cushing: “I am happy that President Obama took the time to visit Oklahoma today, and I welcome him to our great state. Oklahoma offers a fine example of how a thriving energy industry coupled with pro-growth policies can lead to low unemployment and a strong economy. Energy exploration and production is an important part of our history and our current success, and it is my hope the president was able to learn something from our many industry experts during his time here.
Read more from KOCO at http://www.koco.com/news/30740591/detail.html#ixzz1pwX90NK7
Obama defends handling of Keystone pipeline
President Barack Obama firmly defended his record on oil drilling Thursday, ordering the government to fast-track an Oklahoma pipeline while accusing Congress of playing politics with a larger Canada-to-Gulf Coast project. Deep in Republican oil country, Obama said lawmakers refused to give his administration enough time review the controversial 1,170-mile Keystone XL pipeline in order to ensure that it wouldn’t compromise the health and safety of people living in surrounding areas.
Read more from Bloomberg at http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-03/D9TLPAJ04.htm
Don’t base decisions on ‘voodoo economics’
In the 1980 presidential primary debates, George H.W. Bush referred to Ronald Reagan’s claim that a cut in tax rates would be offset by an increase in tax revenue (the Laffer Curve effect) as “voodoo economics.” In spite of three decades of evidence to the contrary, the theory still lives. In fact, a November 2011 report based on this notion by Arduin, Laffer and Moore Econometrics for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is the basis for recent efforts (including that of Gov. Mary Fallin) to phase out and eliminate Oklahoma’s personal income tax.
Read more from NewsOK at http://newsok.com/dont-base-decisions-on-voodoo-economics/article/3659890
Looking closely at income tax proposals
If as a parent, you could choose between putting your child in a school with 35 or 40 students per classroom, or a school where each teacher has about half that many students, which do you think would give your child the greatest chance for success? Smaller class sizes mean teachers can spend more time with each student. Over 20 years ago, pro-education advocates worked hard to pass legislation that enabled schools to have smaller classes, as well as enacting a host of other reforms. Many of those reforms have been stripped away because of budget cuts.
Read more from the Pryor Daily Times at http://pryordailytimes.com/editorials/x1862286417/Looking-closely-at-income-tax-proposals
Surprise! States without an income tax have higher sales and property taxes
States without an income tax rely on other taxes to fund government. Far from discovering magical, revenue boosting powers by not having an income tax, these states simply charge higher sales and property taxes. A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows how much higher: -In fiscal year 2009, the nine states without an income tax had property taxes that were, on average, 12 percent higher per capita and 8 percent higher as a share of personal income than the national average. -Sales taxes in those nine states were 21 percent higher per capita and 18 percent higher as a share of personal income than the national average.
Read more from the OK Policy Blog https://okpolicy.org/surprise-states-without-an-income-tax-have-higher-sales-and-property-taxes/
Upcoming Event: Eliminating the Income Tax – Silver Bullet or Fool’s Gold?
On April 5th, Oklahoma Policy Institute is hosting a forum, “Eliminating the Income Tax: Silver Bullet or Fool’s Gold,” from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. Several of Oklahoma’s most respected economists and economic developers will discuss the methodology and conclusion of the report from Arthur Laffer and his colleagues that has formed the basis for proposals being considered by the Oklahoma legislature to do away with the state income tax. They will also focus on what the implications of doing away with the income tax could be on Oklahoma’s public finances, economic development, and the overall state economy.
Read more from the OK Policy Blog at https://okpolicy.org/upcoming-event-eliminating-the-income-tax-silver-bullet-or-fools-gold/
BIA meets with Oklahoma tribal leaders
Twenty-three tribal leaders from eastern Oklahoma met with Larry Echo Hawk, assistant secretary of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs head, March 14-15 in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa. Echo Hawk came to Oklahoma at the invitation of tribes to discuss with them common issues and concerns. During two days of meetings, he met with tribal leaders individually. Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the issue all of the tribes agreed was most paramount was getting a BIA area director for the bureau’s area Muskogee office.
Read more from the Cherokee Phoenix at http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/6097
Legislators promote hunger awareness initiative
In an effort to shine a spotlight on the growing crisis of hunger in Oklahoma, four lawmakers filed a resolution today to designate April 23rd as “Hold Out for Hunger” day in our state, an event which will kick off other initiatives to assist the tens of thousands of Oklahomans who go to bed hungry every night. “It’s a tough reality to face, that many of the kids sitting in our classrooms struggle daily with hunger pains, and that a growing number of cash-strapped seniors are forced to skip meals,” noted Democratic Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City. “The cupboards are bare in too many homes in our state, and our local food pantries are stretched thin to meet the increased calls for aid to low-income workers, seniors, and parents with children – all who have budgets stretched beyond the breaking point.”
Read more from the Shawnee News Star at http://www.news-star.com/newsnow/x1231830499/Legislators-promote-hunger-awareness-initiative
Quote of the Day
It’s a tough reality to face, that many of the kids sitting in our classrooms struggle daily with hunger pains, and that a growing number of cash-strapped seniors are forced to skip meals.
Democratic Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City
Number of the Day
Percentage of marriages in Oklahoma between people of a different race or ethnicity, 2nd most in the nation, 2008-2010
Source: Oklahoma Department of Commerce
Housing Landscape 2012
A new study by the Center for Housing Policy confirms that falling home prices have not solved the housing affordability problems of the nation’s working households. In fact, the Center’s Housing Landscape 2012 report found that the share of working households paying more than half their income for housing rose significantly between 2008 and 2010 for both renters and owners. This annual report explores the latest Census data from 2008 to 2010 on housing costs and income, including housing cost burden data from the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Among other conclusions, Housing Landscape 2012 finds that nearly one in four working households in the U.S. spends more than half of total income on housing.
Read more from the Center for Housing Policy at http://www.mdahc.org/pdfs/Landscape2012.pdf
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