In The Know: Oklahoma revenue collections hit 6-year low

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.

Today In The News

Treasurer: Oklahoma revenue collections hit 6-year low: Oklahoma’s revenue collections hit a six-year low in May as the state’s economy limps along during a slump in its key energy industry, Treasurer Ken Miller reported on Monday. The report shows May collections were lower than those from May 2015 for every major revenue stream, including taxes on income, sales, motor vehicles and oil and natural gas production. It is the ninth consecutive month that 12-month gross receipts to the treasury are lower than those for the previous 12-month period, the report noted [KOCO].

State Education Department: No New Textbooks This Year: The Oklahoma State Department of Education says it’s recommending that schools not buy any new textbooks this year because of a lack of state funding. The department says state lawmakers did not appropriate any money for new textbooks for the fiscal year that begins July 1. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says students will be forced to use “outdated and tattered school books.” [NewsOn6] Oklahoma continues to lead the nation for the largest cuts to general school funding since the start of the recession [OK Policy].

Bad Brew (Guest Post: Erin Taylor): Like many advocates, I’m still recovering from the Capitol last week where our elected officials passed a trash can punch of a budget. It reeks of classism and party dogma. As an Oklahoma mother who sends my children to public school and colleges, uses child support, and holds Medicaid (TEFRA) on my child with a developmental disability, our family will be paying the price. I also work on behalf of some of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable – adults with intellectual disabilities and families coming to terms with their child’s developmental disability [OK Policy]. 

Tulsa’s third-grade reading test results climb significantly for second year in a row: Tulsa Public Schools now has 74 percent of its third-graders qualifying for promotion to fourth grade based on preliminary results from the state reading test. That is 4 percentage points better than 2015 and 9 points better than 2014. Of the district’s 3,625 third-graders, 942 did not meet the state’s minimum criteria for reading on the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test [Tulsa World].

Second bond issue enough to finish repairs on Capitol, project manager says: The man in charge of repairing the Capitol said he is sure a second bond issue will be enough to finish the job. Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed a measure to sell $125 million in bonds on top of an earlier allocation of $120 million. “I will say I have no plans for asking for any more money to come back and fix the building,” said Trait Thompson, state Capitol project manager [Tulsa World].

Prosperity Policy: So close: Lawmakers this session came close to taking decisive steps forward on criminal justice reform to make penalties more rational and ease prison overcrowding. Unfortunately, in the final days, they took steps backwards that undid some of that progress. Early in session, the Legislature passed bills to reduce mandatory minimum sentences, raise the bar on what constitutes a felony, and expand availability of alternatives to incarceration [David Blatt / Journal Record]. Last-minute legislation hiked fees and fines even higher rather than making progress on reducing them [OK Policy].

Oklahoma County ‘Mobile Meals’ in danger of shutting down – Join the GoFundMe campaign: The ‘Mobile Meals’ program delivers hot food to home-bound seniors in the metro. Sometimes, it is the only meal they get and the only chance they have to connect with others. Cecilia Parkey has been delivering meals to seniors as a volunteer with Chapel Hill Methodist Church for 8 years. She also runs the church’s Mobile Meals operation each week [KFOR].

Out of time: Officials say Oklahoma will not reach compliance standards in time for Real ID Act: It’s a deadline we’ve been talking about for some time now; a date when Oklahomans can’t use their driver’s license to board an airplane. It’s all part of the Real ID Act, which is a coordinated effort by the states and the federal government to improve the reliability of state issued ID’s. It’s meant to inhibit terrorists’ ability to get fake ID’s. However, Oklahoma passed a law in 2007 that said our state wouldn’t comply with the Real ID Act [KFOR].

Jeff Dunn speaks truth to power — again: We haven’t made a secret of the fact that we’re fans of Tulsa Regional Chamber Chairman Jeff Dunn. In January, Dunn caused a stir at his own inauguration when he said it was time for the business community to demand that the governor and Legislature appropriately fund education. Last week, Dunn was once again speaking truth to power when — in front of several legislators — he called out the amount of state Capitol influence wielded by “nut jobs on the periphery.” [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

State agency workers’ comp plans put taxpayers at risk, lawsuit says: Taxpayers could be on the hook for large fines and workers’ compensation claims, according to a lawsuit filed against the state. Attorney Bob Burke, who has successfully challenged several pieces of the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act, wrote in the filing that Oklahoma doesn’t have a proper workers’ comp insurance structure in place to protect state employees [Journal Record].

Tulsa Mayor Signs Executive Order To Halt TPD Officers ‘Buying Rank’: Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett on Wednesday announced he signed an executive order on a practice some believe involves “buying rank” in the Tulsa Police Department. The order requires certain city employees including officers to sign an affidavit whenever a promotion or appointment is offered to that employee. By signing it, the employee swears under oath they haven’t received anything for the promotion [NewsOn6].

Police find no evidence McClendon’s deadly crash was suicide: A two-month investigation by the Oklahoma City Police Department found no evidence of suicide in the March 2 car crash that killed Oklahoma City businessman Aubrey McClendon, the police confirmed Tuesday. A report has not been released, but the two-month investigation has been completed, spokesman Capt. Paco Balderrama told The Oklahoman on Tuesday [NewsOK].

The Oklahoman to outsource production of its print edition: The Oklahoman will outsource its printing and packaging operations to the Tulsa World beginning in September, announced Chris Reen, publisher of The Oklahoman and President of The Oklahoman Media Group. The Oklahoman will close its printing and packaging facility at Britton and Broadway. Along with other manufacturing changes, a total of 65 full-time and 65 part-time positions will be eliminated [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“The lack of appropriated dollars for textbooks is posing serious challenges for districts across Oklahoma. At a time when educators are implementing new, stronger standards for English language arts and mathematics, districts will be scrambling to raise funds to replace workbooks and other consumable materials for early reading students. In the meantime, children will continue to be saddled with outdated and tattered school books held together by duct tape.”

– State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister, explaining that the legislature’s decision not to appropriation any funds for textbooks this year means the state Department of Education is recommending school districts not purchase textbooks this year (Source)

Number of the Day


Decrease in state funding for OETA since FY 2009.

Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

13 Important Questions About Criminal Justice We Can’t Answer: A few weeks ago, the White House trumpeted the progress of its Police Data Initiative. The nearly one-year-old project prods local cops to publish data on their operations in a bid to increase transparency and build trust with the communities they police.The results were underwhelming. Of nearly 18,000 police agencies from coast to coast, just 53 had signed on to the effort. Of that inaugural class, eight released data on officer-involved shootings, and six published information on their officers’ use of force.After the deaths of Freddie Gray and Laquan McDonald and others—in an age when police in many cities are under greater scrutiny than they’ve been in decades—how is it that we know so little about how officers employ force to subdue suspects? [The Marshall Project]

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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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