In The Know: Fallin vetoes ‘most of revised budget’

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

Fallin vetoes ‘most of revised budget’: Gov. Mary Fallin has vetoed “most” of HB 1019, the revised general appropriations bill sent to her desk this morning. To conclude a grueling eight-week special session, the Oklahoma Legislature had adjourned sine die Friday, but now lawmakers may have to return for additional session at some point. [NonDoc] Challenges Persist After Fallin’s Budget Veto [Oklahoma Watch] The vetoed budget was a squandered opportunity of massive proportions [OK Policy]

Reaction to veto of ‘cuts and cash’ bill ranges from ire to applause from political leaders: Reaction was mixed Saturday to Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto of a controversial bill that used cash and agency cuts to shore up the ailing state budget. Hours after the Senate sent the measure to her desk Friday, Fallin line-item vetoed all but five of the 170 sections of House Bill 1019. The action temporarily preserved funding for key health and human services. [Tulsa World] Mixed reactions after Governor Fallin vetoes “most of revised” budget bill [KFOR]

The EITC has been an unfortunate victim of Oklahoma’s budget gridlock: In 2016, Oklahoma lawmakers were struggling to pass a state budget amid a massive revenue shortfall. Sound familiar? One of the measures taken by lawmakers in that year to fill their shortfall was making Oklahoma’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) non-refundable. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma Legislature pulls an unassisted triple play of bad government: Last February, when the Legislature convened its regular session, lawmakers faced an $878 million budget hole. That’s the difference between how much money the state could reasonably expect to get in spendable revenue and the amount the Legislature appropriated the previous year. In other words, just to stay even with already inadequate levels of state funding for things like schools, prisons and mental health, the state had to come up with $878 million, roughly 12 percent of the state budget. [Editorial Writers/Tulsa World]

State board votes to cut Oklahoma legislators’ salary amid budget crisis: As Oklahoma lawmakers continue to battle it out after eight weeks in a special session, it seems that their pay is about to be cut. The Legislative Compensation Board voted to reduce lawmakers’ pay by 8.8 percent during a meeting on Thursday. [KFOR]

Oklahoma lawmakers fail to set spending priorities: Some Oklahoma politicians have said failure to raise taxes this year means people, literally, will die if certain programs are cut. But when it came time to cut spending, suddenly there was little sign lawmakers believed one government program provided any more benefit than another. [Editorial Board/The Oklahoman]

Economists: state economy recovering, but challenges remain: Oklahoma’s economy is recovering and shows signs of growth, but is weighed down by state budget and political challenges, three Oklahoma economists said Wednesday. [The Oklahoman]

State Question 640 working as planned: In the late 1980s, Oklahoma was climbing out of a recession caused primarily by a drastic drop in the price of oil. To combat the damage to our economy, the state Legislature at the time voted on a number of tax increases to fund what it considered core government services. In response, the voters of Oklahoma via an initiative petition gathered enough signatures to put State Question 640 on a state ballot in 1992. It passed. [Rep. Mike Osburn/Edmond Sun] It’s time to revisit State Question 640 [OK Policy]

House of Representatives approves tax package, shifts fight to Senate: The U.S. House of Representatives approved a broad package of tax cuts affecting businesses, individuals and families on Thursday, moving Republicans and President Donald Trump an important step closer to the biggest tax code overhaul in a generation. The largely party-line 227-205 vote shifted the tax debate to the U.S. Senate, where that chamber’s separate plan has already encountered resistance from some Republicans. [Reuters] All five Oklahoma congressmen vote for Republican tax reform package [The Oklahoman] Congressional tax plan would take Oklahoma’s budget mess national [OK Policy]

Oklahoma Tried the GOP’s Tax Plan. Now, It’s Electing Democrats: The backlash to the Republican tax agenda is already getting Democrats elected — in Oklahoma. On Tuesday night, 26-year-old mental-health counselor Allison Ikley-Freeman won election to the Sooner State’s Senate, in a district that backed Donald Trump by 40 points last November. [New York Magazine]

Oklahoma wise to push post-high school readiness efforts: For so long in Oklahoma, likely owing to the state’s rich agriculture and energy heritage, a high school diploma was considered good enough for many young people. Thankfully, efforts are underway on many fronts to stress that this approach to education must change. [Editorial Board/The Oklahoman]

Bill that instructs DHS to not cut funding for certain programs passes House, Senate: On Tuesday, lawmakers passed House Bill 1058, which instructs DHS to fully fund several programs like the Advantage Home and Community-based Waiver Program, Advantage Waiver, foster care, the Senior Nutrition Program and group home care. However, the bill does not include any way to raise revenue. Instead, lawmakers tell News 4 that the bill is instructing DHS to cut funding elsewhere. [KFOR] Lawmakers looking to control spending for cash-strapped agencies [CNHI] The doomsday scenario has already begun — but it can be stopped [OK Policy]

State Tobacco settlement money to fund senior meals, mental health programs: The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust is giving more than $3 million to help keep state mental health and senior nutrition programs operating in the face of steep budget cuts. The TSET board of directors voted Tuesday to provide funds through the end of the fiscal year for senior nutrition services at the state Department of Human Services and a mobile mental health crisis program for children through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. [The Oklahoman]

Board votes to keep a capital gains tax break but drop ethanol incentive: After considerable debate, a divided Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission voted Friday to keep the state’s capital gains tax exemption in place, rejecting the recommendations of a consultant who found it has cost state coffers $465 million over five years while failing to spur investment. [The Oklahoman] Oklahoma’s capital gains tax break is a windfall for the wealthiest with no proven benefit for the economy [OK Policy]

States of Neglect: Oklahoma, Iowa, and Maine Are Failing Disabled Residents: Mostly buried beneath early November’s onslaught of news, stories from Oklahoma, Iowa, and Maine reveal the ways that state governments, through both apparent incompetence and maliciousness, are failing disabled residents and their families. [The Nation] Take a number: Oklahomans with disabilities face devastating delays [OK Policy]

Oklahoma navigators report more people signing up for insurance under Obamacare: Barbie Davis, an insurance navigator in Oklahoma County, says widespread uncertainty over health reform hasn’t kept people from coming for help — and they definitely need it. [The Oklahoman] Oklahomans have from now until December 15 to get health insurance for 2018 [OK Policy]

New Roadside Scanner Contract Brings Uninsured Drivers Closer to Automatic Tickets: Oklahoma has finalized a deal with a Massachusetts company to use license-plate scanners to catch uninsured drivers, and the firm expects to issue 20,000 citations a month starting as early as next year. [Oklahoma Watch] In Oklahoma, avoiding credit card debt can hike your insurance premiums [OK Policy]

Quote of the Day

“As governor, I would like nothing more than to adequately fund agencies. The constant budget crisis has put us in survival mode. I want us to thrive. We will thrive when we can adequately and consistently fund our core services. That will happen when we find sustainable and predictable revenue sources.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin’s statement on her veto of the budget bill passed by the state legislature.  Fallin vetoed all but five sections of the bill (Source)

Number of the Day


Change in inflation-adjusted personal income between 2016 and 2017 in Oklahoma, one of only ten states with negative change

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

States without personal income taxes lag behind states with the highest top tax rates: Lawmakers who support reducing or eliminating state personal income taxes typically claim that doing so will spur economic growth. Often, this claim is accompanied by the assertion that states without income taxes are booming, and that their success could be replicated by any state that abandons its income tax. The study’s broad finding is that the states with the highest top tax rates are experiencing more favorable economic conditions than the states without income taxes. [ITEP]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.