In the Know: Oklahoma second highest in the nation for tornadoes in 2013

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

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Today you should know that Oklahoma’s 79 tornadoes in 2013 placed second only to Texas (81 tornadoes) in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) annual count. The federal government has released an additional $4 million to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to help low-income families buy propane. A bill that would abolish the state Board of Corrections was approved by a committee and will advance to the House for a vote.

Rep. David Dank released a plan to tie Oklahoma’s gross production tax rate to the number of Oklahomans each oil and gas company employs. On the OK Policy blog, we explained how Oklahomans are helping to pay for the Affordable Care Act even as state politicians block Oklahomans from receiving the benefits.

Sen. Jim Inhofe was named the fifth-most conservative US Senator by the National Journal. The Oklahoma Tax Commission shared how Governor Fallin’s proposed tax cut would affect Oklahomans at different income levels. OK Policy previously showed that cutting the top rate to 5 percent would do nothing for 41 percent of Oklahomans, provide an average of $30 for middle income taxpayers, and an average of $2,031 for the wealthiest 1 percent.

The Number of the Day is the lowball forecast of the ten-year net fiscal benefit to the state were Oklahoma to expand Medicaid. In today’s Policy Note, Kaiser Health News details new legislation introduced to Congress that would overhaul the way Medicare pays physicians.

In The News

Tornadoes: Oklahoma second highest in the nation for 2013

Oklahoma’s 79 tornadoes in 2013 was the second-greatest total in the nation, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The total topped the state’s average of 57 tornadoes per year between 1981 and 2010, according to NOAA data. But the number didn’t eclipse the 145 reported in 1999, the most since officials began recording tornado data in 1950.

Read more from the Tulsa World

U.S. Releases Millions to Aid Low-Income Oklahomans Burned By Propane Prices

Propane prices fell slightly this week, from a record high of more than $4 last week. But many of the 400,000 or so Oklahomans who rely on propane for home heating and cooking need more relief than that. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services began taking applications for the Energy Crisis Assistance Program on Tuesday, after the federal government released an additional $4 million for Oklahoma.

Read more from StateImpact.

State Board Of Corrections On Its Way Out?

An Oklahoma House committee has approved legislation to abolish the state Board of Corrections and hand its duties over to the agency’s director. The House Government Modernization Committee voted 8-0 for the bill Thursday and sent it to the full House for a vote.

Read more from KGOU

Gross production tax fight intensifies

One week into the legislative session, debate is intensifying on one of the most contentious issues facing the state’s oil and gas industry: deciding what to do with the gross production tax on oil and natural gas. Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, on Thursday unveiled a plan that would set the gross production tax rate at 2 to 6 percent, depending on the number of Oklahomans each company employs.

Read more from NewsOK

Affordable Care Act is affordable

Since it was signed into law almost four years ago, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as the Affordable Care Act, the ACA, or Obamacare), has been a prime target for political spin and misinformation through three national elections, a Supreme Court Challenge and fifty attempts by the House of Representatives to repeal the law. It is thus no surprise that many Americans are confused about what the ACA actually does.

Read more from OK Policy

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe ranked as the fifth-most conservative senator

National Journal magazine released its annual rankings Thursday of the most conservative and liberal lawmakers, and, no surprise, both of Oklahoma’s senators were among the most conservative, with Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, ranking fifth and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, 13th.

Read more from NewsOK

Impact of proposed Oklahoma tax cut examined

Gov. Mary Fallin’s proposed 0.25 percent state income tax cut for the state’s highest income tax bracket would put about $136 million a year back in the hands of taxpayers once fully implemented, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The following table shows the average tax cut benefits Oklahomans reporting varying levels of adjusted gross incomes would expect to receive if the governor’s proposal is enacted.

Read more from NewsOK

See also: How the tax cut proposal would affect Oklahoma from Oklahoma Policy Institute

Quote of the Day

The problems with Medicaid are creating a perfect storm for the Health Care Authority, because at a time they have to operate on less money, they’re having to serve more and more people.

Rep. Doug Cox on the 5 percent ($47.7 million) reduction in appropriations for Oklahoma Health Care Authority proposed by Governor Fallin’s FY 2015 budget (source:

Number of the Day

$13.6 billion

The lowball forecast of the ten-year net fiscal impact to the state were Oklahoma to expand Medicaid

Source: The Leavitt Report via Oklahoma Watch

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Hill Plan Would Shift Medicare’s Doctor Payment System To Reward Quality

The bipartisan leadership of three Senate and House committees introduced legislation Thursday to overhaul the way Medicare pays physicians. The package, which does not specify how it would be paid for, would repeal the current system, which sets Medicare physician payment rates through a 1997 formula based on economic growth and known as the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR). Physicians would receive a 0.5 percent increase for each of the next five years as Medicare transitions to an alternative payment model designed to reward physicians based on the quality of care provided, rather than the quantity, as the current payment formula does.

Read more from Kaiser Health News

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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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