In The Know: State gross production revenues decline

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.

Although state general revenues grew last month, gross production tax collections were below last year’s March collections by 65.9 percent, or $25.9 million. In the Tulsa World, Policy Director Gene Perry of OK Policy and Jonathan Small of OCPA shared their differing perspectives on whether this year’s budget shortfall will allow the state to continue funding core functions of government like education and roads. Oklahoma has options for closing the budget gap.

Speaking to a Senate appropriations committee on Tuesday, ODHMSAS commissioner Terri White explained that the state has never adequately funded the mental health system and said that flat funding, rather than an increase for her agency, will result in thousands of Oklahomans losing services. The Oklahoman shared how Mike Brose and the organization he directs, Mental Health Association Oklahoma, work decrease stigma around mental illness. A new post on the OK Policy Blog discussed how Congress’s recent approval of a higher federal match to fund children’s health care signals that fears the government would fail to hold up its obligation to fund health coverage to low-income Oklahomans are unfounded. Although some politicians blamed the federal government when Oklahoma’s federal match decreased last year, the real problem was closer to home.

The Oklahoma Chapter of the NAACP and has asked state Attorney General Scott Pruitt and the US Department of Justice to investigate the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, Rep. Mike Shelton has called for the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation to step in, and the Oklahoma Chapter of the ACLU has called for Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz’s resignation over the shooting of an unarmed man by a reserve deputy. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the  Sheriff’s Office has said that some training requirements for the deputy might have been waived. Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett sought to clarify that the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office operates independently of the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Police Department.

A bill that would allow charter schools to expand statewide passed through the Senate Thursday, and now awaits Gov. Fallin’s signature. Amendments added to a controversial “right to farm” bill would allow individual counties to vote whether to adopt the measure rather than putting it before a statewide vote to amend the Oklahoma Constitute. Legislation that would cut Oklahoma’s property tax exemption for new wind power developments passed through the House and now proceeds to the Senate, which already approved an earlier version of the bill. Oklahoma now ranks fourth nationwide for wind energy produced.

The Tulsa City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected under the city’s fair housing policy. The ordinance amendment now goes to the mayor for his signature. A Cleveland County judge has set a hearing for today on a gun advocacy group’s lawsuit challenging a firearms ban at the upcoming Norman Music Festival. The Number of the Day is 472 – the number of federal public corruption convictions in Oklahoma from 1976 through 2010. In today’s Policy Note, The Atlantic notes that more than half of all prisoners in the US are mentally ill, and very few are receiving treatment for this illness in prison or jail.

In The News

Oklahoma’s gross production tax collections decline

State general revenues grew last month, but gross production tax collections declined as the oil industry slump continued, Oklahoma finance officials said Thursday. “While this year’s revenues have been solid to date, we’re seeing clearer signals now of a slowdown ahead,” said Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger.

Read more from NewsOK.

Tight state budget put education and transportation on the spot

Roads and schools sometimes seem the guns and butter of state government. Anyone who lived through World War II (when butter was actually rationed) or even the Vietnam era heard all about guns and butter. Every dollar — or, more precisely, unit of input — spent on guns is one less for butter. And vice versa.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

See also: Options for a balanced approach to solve Oklahoma’s budget gap from OK Policy.

Oklahoma’s Legislature has failed to fund state mental health system’s needs, leader says

The Legislature has failed to fund the state’s mental health system appropriately for the past several decades, leaving thousands of Oklahomans without the services they need to treat their brain diseases, the mental health commissioner said Tuesday. At Tuesday’s Senate appropriations hearing, White explained to a group of lawmakers what will happen if her agency doesn’t get at least $10 million in additional funding, outlining how thousands of low-income Oklahomans will lose mental health and addiction treatment services.

Read more from NewsOK.

The ongoing battle to fight mental illness stigma in Oklahoma

For the past 21 years, Mike Brose has been trying, as he puts it, to help “provide a voice for people who often don’t have a voice.” He’s speaking of (and for) the mentally ill in Oklahoma, who make up a significant portion of the population.

Read more from The Oklahoman.

Federal Money As Promised (FMAP)

It’s rare that Congress finds bipartisan consensus on important issues, but that happened last month when the House approved health care legislation that includes an extension of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Last night the bill was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

See also: Gov. Fallin blames Obama for Oklahoma’s Medicaid cuts. The real reason is closer to home. from the OK Policy Blog.

Sheriff’s spokesman: Parts of reserve deputy’s training requirements might have been waived

Whether a Tulsa County reserve deputy’s training records even exist — let alone whether they can be found — might be irrelevant due to an exemption Sheriff Stanley Glanz could have granted his friend, a Sheriff’s Office official said Thursday night. That reserve deputy, Robert Charles Bates, 73, thought he was holding a Taser when he fatally shot 44-year-old Eric Harris on April 2, according to a statement he gave the Sheriff’s Office four days after the shooting.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Mayor Seeks to Clear Confusion Over Deputy Shooting

With the fatal shooting of a suspect by a reserve Tulsa County deputy, the national attention has resulted in mix-ups with some media confusing the sheriff’s office with the Tulsa Police Department. Mayor Dewey Bartlett wants everyone to know they are separate agencies, and police had nothing to do with the sting operation that ended with the shooting.

Read more from Public Radio Tulsa.

Charter School Expansion Bill Heads to Gov. Mary Fallin

The Oklahoma Senate approved amendments to a bill Thursday that allows the creation of charter schools statewide, a move that sends the legislation to Gov. Mary Fallin. The Senate voted 35-7 without debate to approve amendments to Senate Bill 782, which clarified language regarding how the state Department of Education handles appeals of rejected charter applications, and how priority can be given to charter applications targeting a struggling traditional school.

Read more from Oklahoma Watch.

County vote amendment offered on controversial ‘right to farm’ bill in Oklahoma

A state senator has offered an amendment that would dramatically change a bill and let voters decide whether to enshrine the rights of farmers in the Oklahoma Constitution. The amendment from Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, would let counties call a special election rather than having a statewide vote to amend the constitution.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Legislation would cut Oklahoma’s property tax exemption for new wind power plants

A major tax break for new wind power plants would be eliminated under a bill approved Thursday in the Oklahoma House. Under Senate Bill 498, the state would no longer offer a five-year property tax exemption for new wind energy developments. Existing wind facilities would keep the exemption.

Read more from NewsOK.

Oklahoma takes over No. 4 spot for wind energy

After two decades of impressive growth, U.S. wind energy now provides enough energy to power 18 million homes, and Oklahoma’s wind energy production is among the best in the nation. The American Wind Energy Association found our state ranks No. 4 overall for amount of wind energy produced, beating out Illinois for that spot.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

City Council votes to protect housing rights for LGBT Tulsans

Tulsa city councilors voted 8-0 Thursday night to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected under the city’s fair housing policy. The ordinance amendment now goes to the mayor for his signature. More than a dozen people spoke in favor of the ordinance change; four spoke in opposition to it.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Oklahoma judge sets hearing on gun ban at Norman Music Festival

A Cleveland County judge has set a hearing for 1:30 p.m. Friday on a gun advocacy group’s lawsuit challenging a firearms ban at the Norman Music Festival. District Judge Thad Balkman will hear arguments on a request by the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association for a temporary restraining order against the city of Norman and the Norman Music Alliance, which operates the music festival.

Read more from NewsOK.

Quote of the Day

“Historically, federal dollars funded (psychiatric) hospitals, and then there was this movement to deinstitutionalize. Before that, it still wasn’t appropriately funded, but when we lost those dollars, they didn’t come from any other source, so no, it’s been decades of neglect. I don’t know of a time when mental health was appropriately funded in the state of Oklahoma.”

– Terri White, commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, explaining her department’s funding needs in a Senate appropriations hearing on Tuesday. White says that without $10 million in additional funding, an estimated 14,722 Oklahomans will lose mental health and substance abuse treatment services (Source)

Number of the Day


Federal public corruption convictions 1976-2010 in Oklahoma

Source: University of Illinois at Chicago.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Most Prisoners Are Mentally Ill

Occasionally policymakers and activists will talk about how the justice system needs to keep mentally ill people out of prisons. If it did that, prisons would be very empty indeed. A new Urban Institute report points out that more than half of all inmates in jails and state prisons have a mental illness of some kind. The numbers are even more stark when parsed by gender: 55 percent of male inmates in state prisons are mentally ill, but 73 percent of female inmates are. Meanwhile, the think-tank writes, “only one in three state prisoners and one in six jail inmates who suffer from mental-health problems report having received mental-health treatment since admission.”

Read more from The Atlantic.

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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.

One thought on “In The Know: State gross production revenues decline

  1. It’s been interesting to note that the head of the OK math and science school turned down his recently proposed payraise because his budget, which has suffered for years, couldn’t afford it and he couldn’t in good conscience take more money when the needs elsewhere were so great. Then there’s Terri “$40,000 payraise” White . . . .

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