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This Week from OK Policy
OK Policy’s 2023 in Review: Explore a curated selection of the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s work from 2023. This collection embodies our commitment to rigorous research, insightful analysis, and practical policy solutions. Join us as we showcase these data-driven explorations shaping a more informed and prosperous Oklahoma. [Annie Taylor / OK Policy]
Equalization board sets estimate for FY 2025 budget (Capitol Update): This is the time of year when people who depend on state funding to provide public services start to learn what their funding in the next fiscal year might look like. Public safety, health, social services, education, and general governmental services are all primarily funded by appropriations from the general revenue fund. On Dec. 22, the State Board of Equalization met to estimate the amount of funding that will be available for appropriation in the session beginning in February. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]
Policy Matters: Restoring the Oklahoma Standard in the new year: While I normally avoid resolutions, in the coming year I would like to see all Oklahomans — especially our elected officials — commit to restoring the Oklahoma Standard. That starts when we recognize the immense needs within our state. We can then apply targeted policy solutions that provide all Oklahoma families with a chance to thrive. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]
Weekly What’s That
Oklahoma makes official revenue estimates that determine how much the Legislature is allowed to appropriate in its annual budget. The Legislature is limited to appropriating no more than 95 percent of certified collections. Revenue estimates are certified three times each year:
- In late December, the State Board of Equalization certifies a preliminary estimate. This estimate becomes the basis of the Governor’s executive budget proposal.
- In mid-February, the Board of Equalization certifies a revised estimate considering changes in revenue collections and economic conditions. The February certification is binding on the Legislature and establishes the maximum amount it can budget under existing laws for the coming year.
- In late June, the Board may revise the official revenue estimate up or down only if the Legislature has made changes to the law that affect state revenue.
Revenue estimates for Oklahoma’s major taxes are prepared by the Oklahoma Tax Commission based on a model developed by an economist at Oklahoma State University. Other taxes and fees are estimated by other means.
Editorial of the Week
As each new year dawns, a hope emerges for a better community and improvement in the well-being of all people. With this in mind, we offer our wishes for 2024.
Elections and the behavior those inspire will be top of the news cycle. Up for election next year will be U.S. president, U.S. House, Oklahoma House, half the Oklahoma Senate, a Corporation Commission seat, several Tulsa County positions (court clerk, county clerk, sheriff and commissioner District 2), all Tulsa City Council offices, Tulsa mayor and three Tulsa Public Schools board seats.
Become an informed citizen. Choose candidates over parties and make decisions based on reality, not hyperbole. Seek leaders who offer solutions, truth, diplomacy and common-ground approaches with those in which they disagree.
We encourage people to turn to local media sources, including the Tulsa World, for information about candidates and facts on issues. Avoid adding to the mean-spirited, anonymous misinformation proliferating on social media….
Community-wide support for public schools is long overdue. To have the kind of school district the city requires to prosper, everyone has a role to play.
If your employer offers it, accept the hours for volunteerism, even if it’s for a day. If your employer doesn’t offer it, push them to understand that a community is only as good as its leaders are generous.
At the state level, offer incentives to bring back the 33,000 certified teachers to the classroom, keep teachers from leaving and inspire more people to teach. The problem isn’t just about money — it’s about respect and trust.
Don’t cut the tax rate and spend some of the $5 billion in savings accounts on struggling state services that haven’t returned to pre-recession workforce levels, such as driver testing or Career Tech slots. Monthly state revenue is consistently coming in lower than the previous year, so a tax cut would hamstring future Legislatures.
At the federal level, we would like to see bipartisan support for a new immigration system that secures the border with better security and processing programs. With that, immigration entrance requirements ought to be updated to reflect evolving workforce needs and family reunification. Congress is capable of addressing both sides of the immigration problem.
Gun violence will continue with more mass shootings. We would like a return of the federal assault-weapons ban and background checks for all firearms purchases, including private sales. Keeping guns out of the hands of those who legally should not have them will start improving safety.
World peace often seems elusive, but we hope Ukraine can win its battle against Russian aggression and have an end to the hostilities in Israel and Gaza.
We look forward to the new year and being part of the solution to our community’s challenges.