In The Know: Reports predict major budget shortfalls

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

Preliminary reports show state could face major budget shortfall: State policymakers warned health leaders Wednesday to brace themselves for long and difficult budget cycles in the next few legislative sessions. “They really don’t know what the budget hole is going to be, but we heard figures all the way from $600 million to $1.2 billion yesterday,” McFall said [NewsOK]. Oklahoma has a structural budget deficit: our state tax system is no longer generating the revenue needed to pay for basic public services [OK Policy].

Early release credits for violent inmates now official: The Oklahoma Board of Corrections unanimously approved Thursday a measure that would allow violent inmates to accrue early-release credits. In other business at Thursday’s meeting, the board approved amendments to two of its private prison contracts, increasing the number of beds available to the state by 222 [Oklahoma Watch].

The local impact of civil asset forfeiture: Records obtained through an open records request show that the City of Norman Police Department conducted local asset seizures 57 times between February 2013 and November 2014.  The total value of assets seized amounted to $466,758. At the end of that two-year period, $308,376 was eventually awarded to the city [Red Dirt Report].

Tulsa sheriff: ‘deficiencies’ found in files of 50 reserves: An Oklahoma sheriff’s agency where a reserve deputy fatally shot an unarmed man has found what it calls deficiencies in files of about 50 of its 128 reserve ranks, though the bulk are considered clerical in nature. Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office reserve coordinator Justin Green said Thursday many of the faults were minor, such as outdated driver’s licenses or missing training certificates [NewsOn6].

Feds approve Oklahoma’s plan to improve teacher quality: The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday that it has approved Oklahoma’s plan to increase the quality of teachers in the classroom, especially those in the state’s poorest and most diverse districts. The approval allows Oklahoma to implement programs aimed at improving teacher and principal training and retention [Oklahoma Watch].

PSO could double wind power by 2024: Public Service Co. of Oklahoma plans to diversify its portfolio in the next 10 years, employees told the state regulatory agency Thursday. The utility expects to add more natural gas and renewable power and decrease reliance on coal, said staff from its resource planning group [Journal Record].

On the road with the oil-field authorities trying to stop Oklahoma’s earthquakes: While the research connecting Oklahoma’s earthquake surge to oil and gas activity is built on algorithms, statistical analysis and computer models of fluid flow and seismic energy, monitoring compliance with regulatory actions designed to stop the shaking relies on muddy, manual fieldwork [Oklahoma Watch].

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation might not be bringing in an outside election monitor: Principal Chief George Tiger announced Thursday that he will not sign a resolution from the National Council inviting the Carter Center to observe his tribe’s primary election, which is scheduled for Sept. 19, and its Nov. 7 general election [Tulsa World].

Gender pay gap: Tulsa among bottom 10 metro areas for equitable income: A new study ranks Tulsa among the bottom 10 metro areas in the nation for equitable pay for both sexes. In 2013, the median earnings of Tulsa women ($23,684) were only 65.5 percent of what area men took home [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“They really don’t know what the budget hole is going to be, but we heard figures all the way from $600 million to $1.2 billion yesterday. And those figures, you’re talking real money. And those are state dollars. …Next year is going to be a really tough year, and the year after that appears to be the same.”

– Ed McFall, chairman of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, on discussions of the state’s budget situation over the next few years (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of children in Oklahoma who recieve subsidized child care in SFY 2014 so their parents or caregivers could go to work or school.

Source: OKDHS.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Fewer Americans skipping medical care for cost reasons During the first three months of the year, just 1 in 20 Americans said they did not get medical care they needed because they could not afford it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings, from the federal National Health Interview Survey, show that 4.4 percent of people interviewed from January through March said they had skipped medical care in the previous year because of its cost — the lowest percentage in 16 years. [The 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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