| May 4, 2018

Media mentions - Week of April 30, 2018

The Journal Record: Budget limit bills strike a chord as session winds down

OKLAHOMA CITY – Top Republicans said timely budget proceedings and new leadership have afforded them a new kind of control over agency spending.

On Monday, each chamber considered a slew of what they call budget limit bills. Those measures dictate spending within agencies for line-item expenditures. That kind of control has become increasingly popular, especially after some of the state’s most prominent executives pushed for it and one state agency was found misusing tens of millions of dollars


Jonathan Small is the president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative think tank in Oklahoma City. He said that because of the tax and fee increases between 2015 and this legislative session that have netted about $1 billion in new revenue, lawmakers likely want to focus on control measures.

“I think since lawmakers are trying to turn toward accountability, it makes perfect sense they would look at budget limit bills,” he said. “It’s a lot harder for the agencies to play games and intentionally hurt Oklahomans in order to try to force more revenue or more tax increases.”

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McCarville Report: Era of Oversight Needed

Since 2015, annual taxes and other revenue taken from Oklahomans has increased by $1.1 billion – Oklahomans’ personal income taxes are up at least $185 million annually just since 2016.

Oklahoma government is growing. Some growth is earmarked for teachers and textbooks; other new tax and revenue dollars will go to bail out poorly operated state agencies.

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Muskogee Politico: Poll finds 66% approval for allowing teachers to vote on unions

OKLAHOMA CITY—The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) today released findings from a survey indicating that 66 percent of likely Oklahoma voters agree that teachers should be allowed to vote on union representation.

“Only 15 percent of respondents disagreed with allowing teachers to vote on unions, compared to the 66 percent that agreed with allowing teachers to vote on unions,” OCPA president Jonathan Small said. “In order to support teachers and help the most vulnerable, especially students, we must empower teachers so that they can control their destiny. Teacher union recertification will help unions place greater focus on the needs of students, teachers, and the classroom.”

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The Journal Record: State needs to respond to current conditions

Like many government blunders, it started with a seemingly modest idea. Back in 2001, before a wind industry of any consequence existed, the Legislature enacted a bill granting wind power developers a credit against income taxes. The idea was to encourage development of the wind industry by reducing the costs of producing the power.

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The Journal Record: More money, more problems

It’s been busy lately, so you may not have noticed that the state of Oklahoma received $71 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

Of that amount, the Oklahoma attorney general received a little over $4 million. The state general fund collected a little over $13 million.

The real winner was the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. TSET received a little more than $53 million. Don’t worry; they’ve got a safe place to keep it. They will add that $53 million to the $1.1 billion they are already sitting on.

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