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Rainy Day Fund Raid Vindicated? Not So Fast

July 19, 2017 - 10:14am CDT

After draining all $240 million out of Oklahoma’s Constitutional Reserve Fund, Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger decided to ask the state Attorney General whether doing so was legal. Recently, the Oklahoma Attorney General issued an opinion that, with minor caveats, claims to legitimize Doerf... READ MORE

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Which Governors are Leading on Tax, Spending Issues?

July 17, 2017 - 3:15pm CDT

ALEC recently released its State of the States 2017 report, which analyzes economic policy proposals in governors’ state of the state addresses from across the country. It includes a “best of the best” and “worst of the worst” list, each featuring six governors. This year’s best of the best inc... READ MORE

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Comparing Oklahoma School Districts to Surrounding States

July 17, 2017 - 1:03pm CDT

Amidst discussion of funding for public education, an important point is often overlooked: the sheer number of school districts within Oklahoma and the administrative costs that accompany them. Caddo County—a 1,200 square mile county in southwest Oklahoma—has almost as many school districts as the ... READ MORE

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Free Market Friday: Hope for foster kids

July 14, 2017 - 8:47am CDT

At any given time, there are several thousand Oklahoma children in foster care, often due to abuse or neglect. Others have been adopted from state custody, but in both cases, these children frequently have difficulty adapting to a typical school environment. They need a more nurturing and structured... READ MORE

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Rating Agencies Used As Weapons Against Taxpayers

July 14, 2017 - 8:37am CDT

Citing a decline in "financial resilience,” Fitch Ratings recently downgraded the ratings on Oklahoma bonds. And earlier this year, both Standard & Poor's Global Ratings and Moody’s lowered their ratings on the state of Oklahoma’s bonds. Some now want to use these downgrades to justify tax hike... READ MORE

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What Drives Income Tax Revenues: Tax Rates or Economic Growth?

July 10, 2017 - 2:52pm CDT

Oklahoma’s marginal personal income tax rate has been reduced to 5% from 5.65% in 2007. Over those ten years, revenue from the personal income tax has fluctuated. The state collected $166,981,275 more from this tax in 2016 than in 2007, a 6.02% increase in tax collections. Examining the data suggest... READ MORE

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Oklahoma state government spending is higher than ever

July 10, 2017 - 2:35pm CDT

In discussions about taxes and state government spending in Oklahoma, some advocates insist that available funding has been slashed to the bone for important public services. However, the claim is simply not true. While state appropriations in Oklahoma have fallen below previous years, total st... READ MORE

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Free Market Friday: Regents miss opportunity

July 7, 2017 - 8:15am CDT

The various boards of regents that govern Oklahoma’s colleges and universities have approved increases in tuition and fees for the coming academic year. Many regents approve tuition and fee increases whether or not state support increases or decreases. First, the bad news. The tuition and fee incre... READ MORE

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State Policy Rankings Show Where Oklahoma Can Improve

July 5, 2017 - 1:49pm CDT

The interim between legislative sessions offers the opportunity to step back and consider the long-term policy direction of our state. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) launched a helpful website this year to complement its yearly print publication, Rich States, Poor States, which com... READ MORE

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An Update on Criminal Justice Reform in Oklahoma

July 5, 2017 - 1:17pm CDT

In 2016, Oklahoma voters approved State Questions 780 and 781. The success of these measures showed a desire among Oklahomans to break the devastating cycle of recidivism and generational incarceration by reducing sentences for nonviolent (particularly drug-related) crimes and placing increased emph... READ MORE