Budget & Tax , Education , Health Care , Criminal Justice

| November 24, 2015

9 policy changes we’re thankful for this year

In our “2015 Freedom Agenda” and in subsequent publications and public forums, OCPA made the case for several policy changes – changes which were enacted in 2015.

Here are the top nine policy changes we are thankful for this year:

1. Paycheck Protection

Oklahoma’s state government and school districts are now prohibited from collecting membership dues for labor unions.

2. State Employee Health Care Reform

State-employee and education-employee health plans now allow employees to access cost-saving alternatives, such as free market-oriented medical providers. Once fully implemented, this reform could save the state more than $78 million annually.

3. Stopping Local Regulatory Abuses

With environmentalists trying to thwart oil-and-gas activity in Oklahoma, a new law protects property owners, businesses, and workers against violations of their rights.

4. Protection of Doctor/Patient Relationship

An important new law keeps regulations at bay and protects the ability of patients to make private payment for affordable health care options, such as direct primary-care options and surgeries.

5. School Choice

Oklahoma law allows donors to scholarship-granting organizations (which help pay private-school tuition for kids) to receive a 50 percent state-income-tax credit. A new law locks in the tax credit at 75 percent.

6. Uniform Regulation for Ridesharing

With local taxi and limousine monopolies often trying to snuff out Uber, a new state law will protect businesses from red tape at the local level.

7. Medicaid Reform

Much-needed reforms to Oklahoma’s broken Medicaid system will spur better-coordinated care and will help transition people from a dependence on Medicaid to self-sufficiency. Once reforms are fully implemented, total savings will exceed $25 million annually.

8. Tax Relief

In a year when lawmakers had less revenue to appropriate, an upcoming personal income tax cut was maintained, while tax increases on tobacco, telecom services, and other consumer products were prevented.

9. Corrections Reforms

New laws on licensing, judicial discretion, and more will help reduce the incarceration rate of nonviolent offenders and provide a pathway for them to become personally responsible.

Be looking out for our “2016 Freedom Agenda” in an upcoming issue of Perspective.

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