[Weekly Wonk] Thoughts on proposed FY23 budget | Corporate income tax | OK’s secretive budget process

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

OK Policy statement on legislature’s FY23 appropriations bills: The budget bills approved Friday by lawmakers — and now forwarded to the governor for consideration — reflect some good investments in Oklahoma, especially for youth and their families involved in the justice system and the hundreds of Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities who currently face a 13-year wait for services. Furthermore, given more than $1 billion in tax cuts were proposed during this session, we were heartened to see lawmakers demonstrate restraint. Oklahomans have learned the hard way that once lawmakers cut taxes, those funds are unlikely to return due to the supermajority requirements of Oklahoma’s State Question 640. However, lawmakers again have missed the chance to make strategic and targeted investments to help more Oklahomans live healthy lives, raise thriving families, and create safer communities. [Full Statement / OK Policy]

Lawmakers voted down a corporate income tax cut this spring. Leadership should leave it out of the budget: Cutting the corporate income tax — which was proposed in the failed House Bill 4358 — overwhelmingly benefits wealthy and out-of-state corporations over everyday Oklahomans and locally owned businesses. The Senate Finance committee rejected the bill 6-3 in April, so legislative leadership should keep the provisions of this bill off the table as they complete their closed-door negotiations for next year’s state budget. [Emma Morris / OK Policy

Expect a flurry of legislative activity as end of session nears (Capitol Update): I don’t know how many bills are left to be considered, but I imagine you’ll see a considerable “firehose” effect this week. There were a few policy disagreements between House and Senate leadership that slowed work the past few weeks, but that’s normal. The biggest remaining issue is the budget, which is accompanied by the tax cut issue. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy

Policy Matters: Oklahoma’s secretive budget process: I can remember the adrenaline rush of scrambling to complete school assignments before their deadline. In hindsight, my efforts earned me a passing grade, but it assuredly was not my best work. I was reflecting on my school days on Monday while I watched lawmakers scramble to publicly introduce budget bills – just 11 days before the required end of its three-month regular session. [Ahniwake Rose / The Journal Record

Weekly What’s That

Sine die

Sine die is a term for the adjournment of an assembly for an indefinite period, from the Latin “without day”. In March 1989, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved State Question 620, which provided that regular legislative sessions begin on the first Monday in February and adjourn sine die not later than 5:00 pm on the last Friday in May. Special sessions are also adjourned sine die but there is no set date for their adjournment.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“We’ve given a lot of grace to businesses. We’ve not had that same attitude toward protecting our workforce in teaching.”

– State Sen. Carri Hicks (D-Oklahoma City), speaking about education funding remaining flat in this year’s budget [The Journal Record]

Editorial of the Week

Legislative leaders make bold move to seize power from governor on ARPA funds

Republican legislative leaders are downplaying the move to wrest power from Gov. Kevin Stitt to distribute American Rescue Plan Act funds. But, it’s a big deal.

It signals the Legislature disagrees with how Stitt is handling the $1.87 billion in ARPA funds. The Legislature on Wednesday called itself into a special session and moved all but about $500,000 into a separate account.

Only six senators and 14 House members didn’t sign the special session petition.

This allows those funds to go through a more typical budgeting process using the Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding established last year through an agreement between the governor, House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem. That committee provides the structure for project applications and evaluations…

[Read the full editorial at Tulsa World]

Numbers of the Day

  • 6 – The number of years Oklahoma voters have been waiting for SQ 781’s investments in mental health and substance use disorders, as of May 2022. [Oklahoma Policy Institute]
  • 46th – Oklahoma’s rank nationally in mental health spending [Oklahoma Policy Institute]
  • $0 – Amount of dollars the state has allocated to the County Community Safety Fund (SQ 781) since 2016. [Oklahoma Policy Institute]
  • 11 days – The Oklahoma Legislature publicly introduced budget bills just 11 days before the required end of its three-month regular session. [Oklahoma Policy Institute]
  • $16,604,724 – Estimated savings for FY 2021 from the implementation of the Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act (SQ 780). [OMES SQ 781 FY 2021 Calculation Report]

What We’re Reading

  • Voters still waiting for SQ 781’s investments in mental health, substance use disorders [Oklahoma Policy Institute]
  • Years after voters approved landmark criminal justice reforms, counties are still waiting for mental health funding [The Frontier]
  • Follow through on SQ 781 by funding treatment and rehabilitation services [NonDoc]
  • A Better Path Forward: Focus on Transparency [Oklahoma Policy Institute]
  • Misdemeanors, Municipal Crimes, and Old Warrants: The True Story of What Happened to People Released Under HB 1269 [FWD.us]


David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.