Monday, February 26, 2024

Small: income-tax cuts provide greatest benefit

Income-tax cuts provide greatest benefit
By Jonathan Small

Does the greatest benefit come from cutting the state’s penalty on work, the personal income tax, or from exempting groceries from the state sales tax? That question is on the minds of Oklahoma policymakers.

But the answer is straightforward. While exempting groceries from the state sales tax may provide some financial benefit to individuals, it does not make people more likely to invest in Oklahoma, create new jobs or raise wages.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Legislature ends state grocery sales tax: groceries to get slightly cheaper (at least temporarily)

The Oklahoma State Senate voted today 42-2 to end the state's 4.5% sales tax applied to groceries, sending the measure to Governor Kevin Stitt for his signature (the House voted 88-7 to pass HB1955 last year, meaning the bill was still eligible for Senate action this session). The change will likely take effect in August.

Local sales tax on groceries still applies; Locally assessed sales taxes on groceries will remain unchanged by the law through June 30th, 2025, after which point it seems counties and municipalities can change their rates (... which I'm sure they will).

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Lankford applauds launch of Federal Program Inventory spending database he worked to pass


Lankford Applauds Launch of His Effort to Stop Government Duplication and Wasteful Programs

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (February 20th) – After years of work on the Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) applauded the public launch of the resource that will provide a federal inventory of programs provided by the federal government to ensure it is more transparent and accessible to the American people. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) launched the Federal Program Inventory (FPI) last week. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Congressman Brecheen endorses Ron Hood in Ohio's 2nd District

Oklahoma 2nd District Congressman Josh Brecheen has endorsed Ron Hood, a Republican former legislator running for Congress in Ohio's 2nd District.

Brecheen, arguably one of the most conservative elected officials on Capitol Hill, is a member of the Freedom Caucus, which Hood has pledged to join if elected.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Pro Tem Treat: "We cannot have both grocery and income tax cut this year"

When it comes to Gov. Stitt's desire to pass an income tax cut and eliminate the grocery sales tax, Senate GOP leadership is loath to pursue both. Pro Tem Treat is set on only moving on the grocery tax.

Pro Tem Treat Comments on Board of Equalization Numbers

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 15th) – Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, today issued the following statement after the Oklahoma Board of Equalization released the estimate of revenue that will be available for lawmakers to spend on government services.

“These numbers are certainly encouraging, and they show a lot of promise,” Pro Tem Treat said. “With these numbers and the current savings we have, now is the time to cut the grocery tax. Cutting the grocery tax will give Oklahomans immediate relief every time they leave the grocery store and will be more beneficial than any other form of tax cut.

Gov. Stitt on budget funds certification: "No more excuses" - let's cut taxes

Gov. Stitt wants both an income tax cut and the elimination of the grocery sales tax. It seems that State House leadership agrees with him, but State Senate leaders want only the grocery sales tax cut. Who will prevail?


GOVERNOR STITT URGES LEGISLATURE TO ADVANCE TAX CUTS AFTER BOE CERTIFIES AVAILABLE STATE FUNDS

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 15, 2024) - Today, Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement urging the Oklahoma Legislature to advance tax cut legislation after the Oklahoma State Board of Equalization (BOE) certified the Legislature will have $11.1 billon in authorized funds for FY 25:

Small: OSU tries to intimidate students


OSU tries to intimidate students
By Jonathan Small

In 2023 a national civil-rights organization that focuses on First Amendment issues, Speech First, sued Oklahoma State University on behalf of three OSU students, arguing the university’s harassment, computer, and bias-incidents policies violate students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

The lawsuit did not identify the three students by name. In court, OSU argued the lawsuit should be tossed unless the students were publicly identified.

OSU’s intent with that argument was obvious: to expose students to retaliation if they dared to challenge university policies.

Friday, February 16, 2024

State Sen. Burns files bills to increase state park oversight, remove fees for Oklahoma residents


Burns Introduces Legislation to make State Parks more accessible to Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 14th) – Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has introduced Senate Bill 1253 to make State Parks in Oklahoma more accessible and affordable for state residents. This legislation, if passed, would allow the Commission to establish an annual pass or other varied passes as appropriate to the park for visitors, while also removing fees for Oklahomans.

Lt. Gov. Pinnell hosting Oklahoma workforce tour


LT. GOVERNOR PINNELL HOSTING OKLAHOMA WORKFORCE TOUR

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 12th) — Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell is kickstarting a workforce development tour later this month. He will travel to communities around the state, meeting with business and community leaders to find solutions to the workforce issues they face. For the first leg of the tour, Lt. Governor Pinnell will visit Bartlesville, Lawton, Durant, Clinton, Guymon, and McAlester.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Pro Tem Treat calls for grocery sales tax cut; Gov. Stitt, Speaker McCall respond


Gov. Kevin Stitt has been asking the Oklahoma Legislature for several years to eliminate the grocery sales tax and cut income taxes, including calling special sessions to that end. Yesterday, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat sent out a press release citing a new economic report as evidence for passage of his bill to do away with the grocery sales tax - which he says will be more impactful for Oklahoma than Stitt's income tax idea.

Gov. Stitt and House Speaker Charles McCall responded with press releases of their own. Read on:

Small: Two OK House bills are an attack on parents


An attack on parents
By Jonathan Small

Opponents of deference to parents often believe parents cannot be trusted to raise their own children.

The latest proof comes in two bills filed at the Oklahoma Legislature.

House Bill 4130, by state Rep. Amanda Swope, D-Tulsa, would require any homeschooling parents to notify the state Department of Human Services and undergo a background check. The bill would also impose registration and background-check requirements on parents who “change school districts, whether a result of a move or otherwise.”

Basically, Swope’s default assumption is that any parent who educates their child anywhere other than a local, geographically assigned school should be treated as a likely child predator.

This is complete nonsense. Research shows a child’s educational setting – whether homeschool, public school or private school – has no significant correlation with child abuse.