In The Know: With no budget deal, legislators ‘quickly exhausting all options’

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

With no budget deal, legislators ‘quickly exhausting all options’: Legislative leaders Friday were scrambling to come up with a plan B as the fate of the state’s only real revenue-raising measure seemed increasingly uncertain. “At this point, there’s not a plan B or an option B, I would say,” state Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, who serves as the House’s budget chair, said Friday afternoon. [CNHI] Lawmakers must use special session to fix the budget, not pass the buck [OK Policy]

Budget bill dead after committee gavels out; could be brought back at later time: A compromise discussed in the House budget committee went nowhere Friday after a failed revenue-raising measure this week. House Bill 1054 was tied 11 to 11 before the committee officially gaveled out early Friday evening. [KFOR] House Democrats release compromise letter sent prior to failure of budget bill [KFOR] Votes on state budget fix called off Saturday as revenue proposals continue to divide Oklahoma lawmakers [Tulsa World]

After failing ‘miserably’ on tax-raising measure, state lawmakers move on to ‘Plan B’ with deep cuts: On to Plan B. The Oklahoma House of Representatives Appropriations Committee “failed miserably,” in the words of Gov. Mary Fallin, to move “Plan A” on Friday, leaving legislators with the grim prospect of whacking another $60 million to $100 million from appropriations and voting on a measure that would essentially impose an ungainly and sure-to-be unpopular sales tax on motor fuels. [Tulsa World] What happens ‘when push comes to shove’ on the budget [OK Policy]

New Poll Measures Thoughts On State Budget, Tax Increases: News 9 commissioned to survey likely voters on various aspects of the budget proposals that have been circulating at the Capitol. The diverse group was in general agreement on one thing — that the Legislature is not doing a good job. Asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Oklahoma State Legislature, 66 percent said their opinion was either somewhat or very unfavorable. Twenty-six percent said they view the legislature somewhat or very favorably. [News 9] Oklahoma taxes are the lowest in our region, and falling [OK Policy]

Oklahoma moms appeal: Fix the budget gap: “Frustration.” That seems to be the one word used to describe the budget battle in Oklahoma. On Thursday, Republicans in the State Senate indicated they would consider doubling the current production tax on oil and gas wells as a way to break a stalemate and fix that $215 million shortfall. [KTEN]

Gov. Fallin warning state agencies to prepare for additional cuts after budget bill stalls: After a tumultuous week at the Oklahoma State Capitol, lawmakers say they are going back to the drawing board. On Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin announced that an agreement had been reached to fill the $215 million deficit.On Wednesday, the measure failed to receive the necessary 76 votes to pass the House, finishing with a final vote of 54- 44. [KFOR] State and local agencies brace for ripple effect of cuts [Norman Transcript] Health care is increasingly central to Oklahoma’s economy [OK Policy]

Lawmakers look to simplify school funding formula: State lawmakers are in the early stages of possibly changing Oklahoma’s complex school funding formula, which has remained virtually unchanged for 36 years despite major shifts in public education and student needs. [The Oklahoman]

Lawmakers say they aren’t in it for money: As the Oklahoma House of Representatives continues to introduce proposals to patch the budget that have no hope of passing, outsiders are trying to tighten the screws…last week, the Legislative Compensation Board – which usually meets to discuss pay raises for lawmakers – voted to keep annual compensation at $38,400 per legislator and meet again in four months to discuss the issue further. A pay cut was suggested by some. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

State finally on the road to REAL ID compliance: After weeks of witnessing the Oklahoma legislative process at its worst, it’s worth remembering once when the current people in charge at the state Capitol got things right. Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified the state that it has been granted an extension through Oct. 10, 2018, for compliance with federal REAL ID mandates. [Editorial Writers/Tulsa World]

At the heart of the popular Open Streets events is the health message around active transportation: If you’ve visited one of the highly successful Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Open Streets OKC events, you’ve witnessed local residents challenging their friends in a tug-of-war, others striking dance moves (salsa, line and belly), kids playing hopscotch, teens taking turns hitting a wiffle ball and much more. [OK Gazette]

Quote of the Day

“The reality is, State Question 640 is working exactly as Oklahomans intended it to when they passed it two decades ago. They wanted to make it really hard for the Legislature to raise taxes, and I can assure them it is. At this point, it has become increasingly evident that there are likely no options that require 76 votes that can pass in the House.”

– Speaker of the House Charles McCall (R-Atoka) discussing the difficulty of raising new revenue during special session.  A plan that included an increase in the gross production tax failed in committee in the House on Friday (Source)

Number of the Day


Deaths in Oklahoma prisons in calendar year 2016

Source: Department of Corrections

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Local income taxes were once blamed for causing businesses to flee to the suburbs. Not anymore.: For the past 30 years, local government finance has revolved around a simple, controversial idea known as the “suburban exploitation thesis.” As the theory goes, suburbs have prospered at the expense of central cities. They’ve stolen taxpayers and businesses, and left behind hollowed-out shells of once-great communities. They benefit from unique central city amenities like parks, museums, universities and downtown business districts, but contribute nothing in exchange [Governing]

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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.

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