In The Know: Oklahoma tax revenue dips for the first time in a year | Nursing homes in trouble | Column: Continued tax cuts aren’t fiscally conservative | More

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. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Column: Continued tax cuts in Oklahoma aren’t fiscally conservative: In crafting their many ― and often conflicting ― tax cut proposals this year, state leaders have consistently talked about being fiscally conservative. They are right in that we do need to be fiscally responsible to prepare for the future. However, the proposals seen to date are missing that mark. [Emma Morris Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Policy Matters: School vouchers and tax cuts – buyer beware: Like many shoppers, I’ve been enticed by flashy sales copy only to discover that – once it arrived – what I received was nothing like what was advertised. Avoiding buyer’s remorse has been very much on my mind as I considered the pitches from lawmakers this session about school vouchers and tax credits. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma’s tax revenue dips for first time since June 2022: For the first time since June 2022, tax revenue taken in by the state recorded a monthly decline in April. In a report issued Wednesday, state Treasurer Todd Russ said collections recorded for the month of April 2023 were down by nearly $145 million, or by 7.1%, from collections recorded for the same month in 2022. [Journal Record]

OK nursing homes say quick help essential as COVID relief funding ends soon: Oklahoma nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are facing a 20% funding decrease in caring for Medicaid patients as pandemic-era emergency funding ends next month. Nursing homes will be short $36 a day in caring for Medicaid patients, while the funding shortfall for other facilities that care for the intellectually disabled will be much higher, according to estimates from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Ryan Walters’ administration pursuing only those federal grants that align with ‘Oklahoma values’: The State Department of Education will not apply for federal grants that run counter to “Oklahoma values,” according to documents the state’s top education official has sent lawmakers. The state agency says determining whether grants align with State Superintendent Ryan Walters’ priorities is a key component of deciding whether to seek federal financial aid for schools. [Tulsa World]

Podcast: The battle for Oklahoma education funding continues: The Oklahoma legislature has been deadlocked for weeks as it hashes out a plan for education funding. StateImpact’s Beth Wallis sat down with The Oklahoman’s education reporter Nuria Martinez-Keel to talk about the events at the Capitol that led up to this moment. [StateImpact Oklahoma / KOSU]

Column: If this sounds like indoctrination, it is: While the idea of advancing tax dollars towards private schools has been a non-starter in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, even among many rural and suburban Republican representatives, it looks like Oklahoma will eventually see the state support of private education. [Brent Been / Tahlequah Daily Press]

Health News

Despite health care demand, many hospitals losing money: Four in 10 hospitals lost money in 2019 and that figure is projected to be 68% this year, Jim Gebhart, president of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, said Wednesday. “(Meanwhile) the demand for health care services is at an all-time high,” Gebhart said during a panel discussion on the State of Health sponsored by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “That impacts our ability to serve Oklahomans.” [Journal Record]

Criminal Justice News

We fact-checked claims about gaps in Oklahoma’s sex offender registry: Gov. Kevin Stitt struck down a bill aimed at clarifying the state’s sex offender registration law, claiming it would have subjected some Oklahomans to tribal authorities that have no jurisdiction over them. We went looking for the truth. [Frontier]

Dr. Phil says Oklahoma’s death penalty “doesn’t seem logical”: Nationally recognized television host Dr. Phil McGraw traveled to his home state of Oklahoma on Tuesday to advocate for death row prisoner Richard Glossip as the state’s Republican leaders seek to cancel his execution. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Economic Opportunity

Iowa Tribe announces new casino resort plans on Turner Turnpike: The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma announced Wednesday that it has selected a management partner for a new casino resort located “off Interstate 44,” somewhere on the Turner Turnpike between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The tribe said it has selected Caesars Entertainment Inc. as its management partner for the Harrah’s-branded facility. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Senate passes $180 million incentive to bring solar panel, photovoltaic cell manufacturer to Inola: Senate Bill 1179 would provide up to $180 million in incentives for Enel North America, which began as a utility company in Italy but “evolved to become one of the world’s largest, most dependable, and most sustainable renewable energy companies” with a presence in the United States and Canada for more than 20 years, according to its website. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt to take on role as dean of OCU law school: Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt is the next dean of Oklahoma City University’s School of Law. He will start the new position July 1, but it will have no effect on his service as OKC mayor. Holt currently serves as the managing director of communications for private investment company Hall Capital. [The Oklahoman]

Education Watch: Catholic Charter School Decision Anticipated This Summer: Proponents are expected to resubmit the application for a publicly-funded Catholic online charter school later this month after revisions are made to address weaknesses laid out by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board. The board in April rejected the proposed St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School in what is being watched as a national test case for public funding of religious education. [Oklahoma Watch]

General News

‘Prayer and politics’: Fairview Baptist Church walks tightrope with IRS code: Fairview Baptist Church senior pastor Paul Blair invited recent mayoral candidate Brian Shellem to speak to his congregation before the April 4 election, but his church may have violated the spirit of IRS tax code by encouraging the congregation to vote for Shellem and donate to his campaign. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Oklahoma City approves $235,000 settlement in lawsuit over stolen water [KOSU]

Quote of the Day

“What a poor way to govern, frustrating Oklahomans who already have shaky faith in government. This isn’t gridlock. This is a shakedown and freefall.”

– Tulsa World editorial describing the conflict among the Senate, House and the governor’s office, which has brought this legislative session to a virtual standstill for more than a week. [Tulsa World Editorial]

Number of the Day

$385.8 million

Amount that Panasonic has paid in criminal and regulatory fines and settlements with the U.S. government since 2010. Oklahoma officials have approved a $698 million economic incentive for the company to build a facility in Oklahoma, and the company is asking for an additional $245 million in infrastructure improvements. [NonDoc]

Policy Note

Kansas Avoids Flat Tax Proposal: Narrow Victory a Cautionary Tale for Other States: States across the country can learn from Kansas’ experience by rethinking tax policy decisions and broader statewide priorities. Rather than digging in with a narrow tax-cutting mentality, lawmakers can advance sound fiscal policies centered on creating fair and progressive taxes that can raise enough revenue to make public investments that boost incomes, create jobs, and grow the economy. This is a simple tax policy formula that will result in great dividends for families and communities. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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