In The Know: Oil and Gas Tax Breaks Costing Oklahoma Nearly $400M

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.

This is the last In The Know of 2017! We’ll be taking an extended break for the holidays and will be back on January 2nd.

Today In The News

Oil and Gas Tax Breaks Costing Oklahoma Nearly $400M: Gross production tax collections this year are projected to be $638 million. That’s $397.5 million less than what they would be if the rate were the standard 7 percent rather than at incentive rates for the first years of production. The state will also pay out $2 million in tax credits and adjustments. [Public Radio Tulsa] Cost of oil and gas tax breaks continues to approach $400 million [OK Policy]

As Students’ Mental Health Needs Grow, Schools Find Counselors Have Little Time For Counseling: Moore’s high schools have counselors, and outside groups also provide mental health services to students, so Romines thought students were getting the help they needed. But he quickly realized why they weren’t. Most of Moore’s high school counselors were busy helping students choose a career path and get into college. [KGOU] Oklahoma’s costly lack of foresight in not funding mental health care [OK Policy]

LeFlore County road and bridge projects in jeopardy: Road and bridge projects in LeFlore County are in danger of being delayed or removed because of a diversion of funds. LeFlore County District 2 Commissioner Lance Smith said Gov. Mary Fallin diverted $80 million from the statewide County Improvements for Roads and Bridges (CIRB) program during the special session of the Legislature Fallin called in November. [SW Times Record]

State Auditor Gary Jones Recuses Himself From Health Department Investigation: State Auditor Gary Jones has decided to step aside as a special audit of the Oklahoma Health Department moves forward. Jones released a statement on his decision, Thursday afternoon, citing the “ethics and independence” of the investigation. [News9]

Lessons on how not to govern: Peace on earth. Good will toward … whom? With a second special session launching and a House committee digging into the state Health Department train wreck, the Capitol sorely needed more wassail and caroling in the week before Christmas. Instead, it was a bastion of Bah Humbug – most lawmakers on the sidelines, waiting (impatiently) for the opportunity to vote on the latest budget fixes offered by the powers that be. [Arnold Hamilton/Journal Record] Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special session [OK Policy]

Food Bank Feeding Kids In Need While School Is On Break: About 80 percent of Tulsa Public School students are on the free or reduced meal plan. But when those kids are on break, the Food Bank steps in to help. “During times like these, when school’s out and kids might be missing those meals they get at school, we’ll take to truck out,” said Eileen Bradshaw with the food bank. [News On 6]  Schools use food trucks to fight food insecurity during summer months [OK Policy]

Oklahoma overdose deaths rise again: Drug overdoses in Oklahoma increased again in 2016, and the situation could get much worse. In Oklahoma, 813 people died from overdoses, a rate of 21.5 deaths for every 100,000 people last year. Nationwide, 63,600 people died from overdoses in 2016, with 42,249 of those deaths tied to some form of opioids. [The Oklahoman]

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is just shy of 1,000 homes as it marks 30 years: After 30 years of empowering limited-income families to build brighter futures through affordable homeownership, the fruits of the Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity labor are visible in 18 communities where the nonprofit, along with its volunteers, staff and families, has built more than 900 homes. [OK Gazette]

Kirk Humphreys to resign from the University of Oklahoma Board Regents: Kirk Humphreys, who stated repeatedly he would not step down from the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, reversed course Thursday after being told his presence had become “a problem.” [The Oklahoman]

Education Department Touts Success of Alternative Education: Oklahoma’s 280 alternative education programs taught more than 11,000 students last year. More than 3,000 of them were seniors. “Of those seniors that they served, they had a 93 percent graduation rate.” [Public Radio Tulsa]

Homeland Security suspending bioterror testing in Oklahoma: The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it is suspending plans to conduct bioterrorism drills near the Kansas-Oklahoma border over concerns about their impact on grounds Native American tribes consider sacred because more than 100 children are buried there. [AP]

Quote of the Day

“We deal with students who’ve been affected by trauma on a more regular basis than we ever have in my 26 years of education, she says. Additionally, we deal with more incidents of self-harm. The loads that pre-teens and teenagers are carrying seem to be quite stifling for some of them at times.”

Lisa Witcher, Executive Director of Secondary Education at Tulsa Union Public Schools, on the increasing need for mental health care in public schools.  An increasing number of students are living in poverty, and a life of poverty often accompanies trauma, but that’s not the only reason for the uptick in mental illness. (Source)

Number of the Day


Median value of owner-occupied homes in Oklahoma in 2016

Source: US Census American Community Survey

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Undervalued: A Brief History of Women’s Care Work and Child Care Policy in the United States: Until at least the latter half of the 20th century, few types of work beyond unpaid care for their own children at home were viewed as socially acceptable for white women. Women of color, however, were employed—or enslaved—in domestic work, including child care for other families’ children, for centuries. Today, more women are in the labor force than ever before, in a range of jobs far wider than their grandmothers might have imagined. Yet in the U.S., child care is largely still viewed as women’s work and—in contrast to nearly every other developed nation in the world—as a private responsibility rather than a public good [National Women’s Law Center].

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.