In The Know: Tax increases help more than expected; feds seek cut of opioid settlement; construction jobs record…

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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Join our team as a paid fall intern!: OK Policy is now accepting applications for paid, part-time internships in our Tulsa office during the Fall 2019 semester! We are a non-partisan think tank working to promote adequate, fair, and fiscally responsible funding of public services and expanded opportunity for all Oklahomans by providing timely and credible information, analysis, and ideas. If you’re looking to be part of a team that’s fighting to make Oklahoma better for all Oklahomans, this might be the place for you. The deadline to apply is Sunday, July 21st. [OK Policy]

In The News

Recent state tax increases help Oklahoma’s bottom line more than expected: Revenue from higher state gross production taxes has far exceeded expectations, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, but industry insiders and some general skeptics are warning that the new levies may be taking a long-term toll. A broader question, though, is whether the most recent reworking of the tax code, accomplished amid great turmoil over the past few years, is really a long-term solution to Oklahoma’s frequent budget shortfalls. [Tulsa World]

Feds may claw back millions from Oklahoma’s opioid settlement: The federal government is seeking its slice of Oklahoma’s recent $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and the bill could be millions of dollars. The demand came in a June 12 letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It argued part of Purdue’s payout was meant to cover alleged Medicaid fraud, which harmed federal and state taxpayers. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Construction Jobs In Oklahoma Reach A Record High: According to recent data from the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment reached a record high in Oklahoma over a 12 month period. Oklahoma was one of only four states to reach a record high from May 2018 to May of this year. The driver behind more construction jobs in the state is growth in the non-residential building sector. [KGOU]

Nonprofit Launched by Former Gubernatorial Candidate Goes Under: A nonprofit that raised eyebrows when former Gov. Lt. Todd Lamb started the organization before his unsuccessful gubernatorial bid last year has quietly shut down. The almost four-year-old E Foundation for Oklahoma ceased operations on June 30, according to an email from Rob Crissinger, the group’s former communications director. [Oklahoma Watch]

Internment camp survivors and allies protest child detention in Oklahoma: On June 22, a group of Japanese American WWII internment camp survivors and descendents gathered outside the gates of the Fort Sill Army installation in southwestern Oklahoma to protest the detention of more than 1,400 migrant children. Risking arrest to make their opposition known, they shared their stories of resilience before joining more than 200 supporters to protest the “repetition of history.” [Tulsa Voice]

Protests rally against Oklahoma base for migrant shelter: More than two dozen protesters gathered Wednesday at the Oklahoma City office of U.S. Sen. James Lankford and called on the Republican to take action against the federal government’s plan to use Fort Sill in Lawton as a temporary shelter for migrant children. “It is hard to be a human being and not feel outraged about this situation,” Debbie Hill said. [The Oklahoman]

Early voting begins for special City of OKC election: Early voting began Thursday, July 4 and continues through Friday for an Oklahoma City Special Election on two propositions. If both pass, the City’s charter would change to allow state and federal employees to serve on the City Council and the City would receive more revenue from its franchise agreement with Oklahoma Natural Gas. Election day is Tuesday, July 9. [Oklahoma City Free Press]

Next Equality Indicators Meeting Set: The Tulsa City Council announced the date and panelists for the second of four special meetings on select topics from the City of Tulsa’s 2018 and 2019 Equality Indicator reports. The second special meeting will cover the report’s findings regarding racial disparities in police use of force and current practices to improve outcomes [Public Radio Tulsa].

Grant allows OU Health Sciences Center to enhance dementia care: The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, working with partners across the state, has been awarded a $3.75 million federal grant to enhance the care and support of a growing group of Oklahomans — those who suffer from memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. [Norman Transcript]

Osage Nation charters Bacone College: Bacone College continues its bid to become a federally recognized tribal college through a new charter with the Osage Nation, according to a joint release from the two organizations. The move marks another step toward Bacone’s ultimate goal of becoming a Title I public tribal college under the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. [Muskogee Phoenix]

Quote of the Day

“We know what this does to the children who are put in these situations, and we knew if we just stood by we wouldn’t be doing what we are supposed to do as teachers, and that is to help the children.”

-Hannah Fernandez, one of the Tulsa teachers who gathered supplies for the migrant children who will be detained at Fort Sill [Tulsa Voice]

Number of the Day

3,107

Current number of Oklahoma inmates suspected by the Department of Corrections as having Hepatitis C.

[Oklahoma Department of Corrections]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

‘Mental Health Parity’ Is Still An Elusive Goal In U.S. Insurance Coverage: Amanda Bacon’s eating disorder was growing worse. She had lost 60% of her body weight and was consuming only about 100 calories a day. But that wasn’t sick enough for her Medicaid managed-care company to cover an inpatient treatment program. She was told in 2017 that unless she weighed 10 pounds less — which would have put her at 5-foot-7 and 90 pounds — or was admitted to a psychiatric unit, she wasn’t eligible for coverage. [NPR]

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-GP out

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gene Perry joined OK Policy in January 2011. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism. Gene also serves on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, is a trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, and has chaired the communications advisory committee for the State Priorities Partnership, a nationwide network of state fiscal policy think tanks. He lives in Tulsa with his wife Kara Joy McKee, who is a Tulsa City Councilor.

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