In The Know: Proposed bill to raise gross production taxes pulled from budget talks

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.

Check out OK Policy’s resources for the Legislative session, including Advocacy Alerts, the Legislative Primer, the What’s That? Glossary, and Online Budget Guide.

Today In The News

Proposed bill to raise gross production taxes pulled from budget talks: One significant revenue-raising measure was pulled just minutes before Tuesday’s Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget meeting as the gross production tax issue seems to remain the bargaining chip. Senate Bill 867 was pulled, and it would have allowed long-lateral drilling. The bill was expected to generate a nearly $500 million impact in its first year. Rep. Leslie Osborn, the head of the JCAB, said she got a call from House Speaker Charles McCall directing her to stop the bill [KOCO].

State revenue misses estimate by 13 percent: State legislators said that April revenues would likely offset midyear borrowing from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, but the numbers are in, and receipts were 13 percent below projections. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced the report Tuesday afternoon. The release said the shortcoming only adds to uncertainty, as agencies fear further cuts and the Legislature struggles to reach a budget agreement. April receipts totaled about $612 million, about $90 million under projection. Fiscal 2017 collections so far are down about $190 million [Journal Record].

Bill to cap itemized deductions passes House committee: House Republicans pitched a revenue measure that could raise about $166 million, and it would do so largely by collecting more taxes from wealthy families. Unlike earlier revenue measures that were criticized for targeting the poor, a handful of the bills pitched during a House committee on Monday would affect higher earners and corporations. One of them, House Bill 2347, has gotten blowback since it passed 23-2 [Journal Record].

Supervisor suspended after Oklahoma prison videos posted to YouTube: The head of the Oklahoma Corrections Department on Tuesday announced a supervisor has been suspended because of “unacceptable” comments depicted on YouTube videos recorded inside prison. In one video, an officer speaking about child molesters tells his colleagues to “let them die.” Three separate videos depicting conversations inside an Oklahoma prison were posted to YouTube last month, and on Tuesday the Oklahoma Department of Corrections issued a statement from director Joe Allbaugh announcing an officer has been suspended pending an internal investigation [NewsOK].

Lawmakers advance bond for new state health lab: Oklahoma lawmakers have introduced a $58.5 million bond to build a new public health laboratory. The current lab operated by the Health Department is in danger of losing its accreditation from the College of American Pathologists, which would force it to close immediately. Officials have estimated if that happens, using an out-of-state public health lab would cost $9 million each year [NewsOK].

New kind of specialized court proposed in Oklahoma for domestic violence cases: Lawmakers have given final approval to a new kind of specialized court for domestic violence cases. House Bill 1121 lets district courts and some municipal courts establish a domestic violence program that streamlines the civil processes that come out of a domestic situation. If Gov. Mary Fallin signs the bill, it would let cases in the same domestic situation be assigned to the same judge. The family members involved could also be able to attend fewer court dates if hearings are scheduled together [NewsOK].

Groups react to ‘protest bill’ being made law: On Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill into law that makes it illegal for a person to trespass on property “containing critical infrastructure without permission,” a move that some organizations say targets protesters and squashes the right for peaceful assembly. House Bill 1123 – which focuses specifically on critical infrastructure facilities like power substations, petroleum refineries, chemical manufacturing plants and dams, to name a few – includes harsh penalties for anyone trespassing or damaging facilities. The bill also includes pipelines, storage facilities, natural gas facilities and other infrastructures [Red Dirt Report].

Oklahoma Schools Preparing For Another Round Of Budget Cuts: Broken Arrow school leaders are preparing employees for what the next round of budget cuts could look like for the district. District officials said the people who need to act are lawmakers in Oklahoma City – and they are asking for parents help in pushing for action. Tammy McCartney – a mother of two, a Broken Arrow High School graduate, and a former teacher – was at another budget cut meeting Monday night for her children’s school district [News 9].

OU Assistant Dean nominated for Federal Court position: President Donald Trump is nominating an Oklahoma for a job in a federal court. On Monday, the White House announced ten people that the President wants in federal courts. Trump nominated Scott Palk to be the U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. Palk is currently the Assistant Dean for Students at the OU School of Law. Both Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford have supported Palk’s nomination [KOKH].

Oil and Gas Companies Find Themselves Back in State Court Over Pawnee Earthquake: The effort by James Adams of Pawnee to sue oil and gas companies he blames for last fall’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake is back in Pawnee county District Court. It was April 12 when a Tulsa federal judge ruled the case should be remanded back to district court and late last month, that’s where Adams and his attorneys landed. They refiled their lawsuit against Eagle Road Oil of Tulsa and Cummings Oil Company of Oklahoma City. And once again, the case is before district judge Patrick M. Pickerill [OK Energy Today].

Pastor Danny Stockstill set to announce candidacy for Congress: Tulsa pastor and business owner Danny Stockstill says he will formally announce his candidacy in the 1st Congressional District on Saturday. Stockstill is one of five known candidates to succeed Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who is not seeking re-election. All five are Republicans [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“I am really, really, disheartened. You know, I have thought about going to other districts, about putting my children in private school, but the fact is that education everywhere is struggling.”

-Tammy McCartney, a mother of two and former teacher, on the prospect of further cuts to public education in this year’s budget (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of seniors in Oklahoma kept out of poverty by government programs in 2014

Source: Center on Poverty and Social Policy

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Fighting Child Poverty With a Universal Child Allowance: Lately there has been growing interest in a simple and effective policy solution to weaknesses in the social safety net: making the Child Tax Credit (CTC) universal. The credit is also one of the rare social policies that bridges the left and right. In recent months, the case for transforming the CTC into a universal child allowance paid at monthly intervals had been made by both progressive and libertarian scholars. Here’s how the credit works: Families with children get $1,000 back on their taxes for each child. But since eligibility for the Child Tax Credit is tied in part to federal income tax liability and in part to earnings, the CTC leaves out those families that need it the most—those with little or no earnings [American Prospect].

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Ryan Gentzler worked at OK Policy from January 2016 until November 2022. He last served as the organization's Reserach Director and oversaw Open Justice Oklahoma. He began at OK Policy as an analyst focusing on criminal justice issues, including sentencing, incarceration, court fines and fees, and pretrial detention. Open Justice Oklahoma grew out of Ryan’s groundbreaking analysis of court records, which was used to inform critical policy debates. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.

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