Lawmakers are working to file their bills today.
It will be interesting to see what they propose. Lawmakers head into a session with sagging revenues and agencies that are weathering cuts that are starting to affect services — and the average person.
Political parties like to have an agenda or theme for the session, but it seems that the budget and the lack of state revenue might overshadow any proposed legislative agenda.
We’ll be taking a look at the bills filed in the next few days to see what themes emerge.…
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Just got a call back from Sen. Clark Jolley. He says his remarks at the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration were misunderstood.
I was very careful about what I was going to say or not say. I had it written down. I said I would rather see us focus on income taxes.
A Twitter post earlier today said Jolley didn’t think capping property taxes “added up” at this time. The proposed legislation would put a question on the ballot asking voters whether they wanted their property tax increases limited.…
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Yesterday Senate Republicans released their legislative agenda at a news conference.
Part of their plank includes support to “Limit growth of government and reduce the tax burden of Oklahoma families through an ad valorem tax cap.”
Sen. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond highlight the measure as “other things you will see,” but then referred all questions to Sen. Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, who has pushed legislation to limit the increase on property taxes. Reynolds was not one of a handful of Senate Republicans who attended the press conference.…
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Sen. Tom Coburn is holding a town hall meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in the South Banquet Hall of the Spirit Bank Event Center, 105th and S. Memorial in Tulsa.…
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State revenue figures released today show collections are off by 30.7 percent compared to the estimate. They’re 29.1 percent lower than last year’s collection.
Ask any educator or state employee, the budget cuts are being felt. Employees are seeing furlough days, private contracts cut — all in effort to make up the difference.
In his press conference this afternoon State Treasurer Scott Meacham sounded a little bit hopeful.
When asked if Oklahoma is still the “recession proof” state it was touted to be a few months back, he replied: “We’re not California.”
Read the rest of Treasurer says things can only get better
It’s busy at the Capitol today.
Senate Republican leaders unveiled a portion of their agenda this morning which includes reforming the state’s workers compensation system, promoting job growth with lower taxes and less regulation and limiting growth of property tax increases.
Republicans are also pushing measures to include school supplies in the back-to-school tax holiday and reduce government spending.
Some of their measures will cost money if put into law. Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, wants to create an Office of Accountability and Innovation to audit agencies and find waste.…
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Former U.S. Congressman Ernest Istook, a Republican who represented the Oklahoma City area for 14 years, has won a fellowship at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Istook, who will keep his position at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think in Washington, will be part of the spring class of fellows at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
Another one of the spring fellows is former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, so maybe he and Istook can talk about how well Oklahoma City’s NBA team is doing this season.…
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Rep. Tad Jones, House majority floor leader, said he will file for the post during the filing period in June.
Jones, R-Claremore, cannot seek re-election because of legislative term limits. He was elected in 1998. Legislators are limited to serving 12 years in Oklahoma.
Jones said he would stand behind state businesses and would oppose national policies that hinder economic growth.
Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields, a Democrat, is seeking a second four-year term.…
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Attorney General Drew Edmondson is one of a handful of states attorneys general who are asking for clarification on a plan to offset Medicaid increases hatched during the Senate negotiations on the national health care reform bill. Nebraska Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson cut the deal in exchange for his support of the Senate health care plan.
Officials in other states that will have to pay the Medicaid costs are questioning whether the provision is constitutional. Charlie Price, a spokesman for Edmondson said, the AG is already conferring with attorneys general in other states.
Most of those officials are Republicans, criticizing a Democratic backed deal.…
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That’s the idea that Lt. Gov. Jari Askins is proposing. She’s among the candidates running for governor this year. Read about it in Michael McNutt’s story.
Whoever is elected will face a tough budget year and will have to help state government work more efficently without compromising services to the people who really need them. In some ways the current budget crisis will help separate the candidates from each other. Who really has a plan and who really just has talking points?…
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