Recent revenue measures have helped Oklahoma’s long-term budget outlook but the work isn’t done

A new research brief prepared by Dr. Kent Olson, Professor of Economics Emeritus at Oklahoma State University, examines the effect that passage of HB 1010xx and other recent revenue measures will have on the state's long-term fiscal outlook. He finds that these revenue measures reduce the state's budget shortfalls over the next decade, but a significant and growing funding gap will remain in the absence of new revenues. [More...]

A day without taxes…

I’ve had it. Why can’t we make society work without taxes? I’m willing to try, I think, as I doze off… [More...]

Restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit is a must this session

In Oklahoma’s tax code, there are multiple tax breaks for high-income individuals and businesses. But just three tax credits are targeted at low-income Oklahomans, and one of those -  the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – was slashed in 2016 to help balance the books during a severe budget crisis. This cut resulted in more than 200,000 Oklahoma families losing some, or all, of the value of their EITC. Statewide, low and middle-income working families lost nearly $28 million due to the cut. That’s an average of $121 per family, and many low-wage families lost even more. [More...]

Too Much of a Good Thing? Exceeding Rainy Day Fund cap would leave critical needs underfunded

Our healthy fiscal outlook provides a great opportunity to build on the progress made last year by making sizeable investments in critical needs that have long gone unmet. However, Governor Kevin Stitt, in his FY 2020 budget blueprint, suggested going in a different direction. The Governor’s approach would tilt the budget too heavily towards savings at the expense of key investments that are urgently needed to promote Oklahoma’s prosperity and well-being. [More...]

Report: Despite gains from teacher walkout, Oklahoma school funding is still way down

For the past five years Oklahoma has led the nation for the largest per-pupil cuts to education funding since the Great Recession, according to an annual report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). This year's report, released today, finds that Oklahoma has finally moved out of the bottom spot in per pupil formula funding cuts thanks to last year’s teacher pay raise funded by the Legislature on the eve of the statewide teacher walkout. However, despite these gains, Oklahoma remains well below pre-Recession levels in per-pupil funding and still has cut more than any state other than Texas. [More...]

Increasing the scholarship tax credit hurts public schools and benefits affluent Oklahomans

Correction 4/1/19: This post has been updated to correct information about the income eligibility for scholarship recipients.  In 2011, the Legislature passed the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act, which grants tax credits to individuals or corporations who make a… Read more [More...]

Bill Watch: Quieter year expected on the tax front

Some of the fiercest battles of recent legislative sessions have centered on tax policy as lawmakers debated competing tax proposals to limit funding cuts and provide teachers a raise. This year, thanks to a strong economy and recent tax increases, the state's budget outlook is greatly improved. Yet even if the stakes are lower, lawmakers still filed hundreds of bills this session that would revise Oklahoma's tax system. [More...]

OK PolicyCast 43: 2019 Bill Watch, Part 1

It's a new year, a new Legislature, a new governor, and many new bills that could have a big impact on Oklahomans' lives. In this episode, Gene Perry talks to OK Policy's Executive Director David Blatt and Policy Director Carly Putnam about the big issues we're keeping an eye on this year related to the state budget, taxes, and health care. In a future episode, we'll talk about other bills we're tracking related to education, criminal justice, and economic opportunity. [More...]

New economic rankings show Oklahoma falling further behind

There are quite a few reasons to be optimistic about Oklahoma this year. Unemployment is low and the state expects to have a budget surplus this year, the first in quite some time. But despite this good news, too many Oklahomans are still struggling to make ends meet and build a better future for themselves and their families. For the third straight year, Oklahoma has dropped in the Prosperity Now Scorecard rankings. This year, we rank 43rd in the financial health and overall well-being of our residents - that's down from 34th in 2016. [More...]

2019 Priority: Revisit the supermajority requirement of SQ 640

Download this fact sheet as a printable pdf here. Read about the rest of OK Policy’s 2019 Legislative Policy Priorities here. In March 1992, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 640, establishing the requirement that any bill to raise revenue must… Read more [More...]