Sine Die is this Friday May 28th 5pm. Thursday, the legislature passed a budget appropriating $8.8 billion for Fiscal Year 2022, which starts July 1.
Here are some of the highlights of where your money will be going over the next year:
$800 million in savings
Increased common education funding by more than $210 million, with a total appropriation of $3.16 billion.
$25 million for public schools and $25 million for private schools. Controversially expanded inclusion of charter schools to be able to receive Redbud Grant money to pay for building funds. The Redbud Grant money comes from marijuana taxes
It is controversial to give this money to charter schools because many charter schools:
- Do not have locally elected boards.
- Do not have open enrollment.
- Are for profit.
Rep. Trish Ranson said “it is the first step in privatizing public education”
Rep. Melissa Provenzano also argued “This session we have not lifted a finger yet to do anything about private management companies profiting off public schools despite overwhelming evidence. Instead we expanded a voucher program for private schools. The assault on public education continues”
$164 million to fund Medicaid expansion approved by a vote of the people.
$9.9 million for the creation of a children’s mental health unit at OU Health.
$15.4 million for Rural Economic Action Plan that makes grants for infrastructure projects in rural Oklahoma.
$30 million for a film tax incentive
$20 million additional dollars to the Attorney General’s office. $10 million for X Amendment review (dealing with federal overreach- which is already the job the AG) and the other $10 million for a “state tribal litigation fund.” To assist state in legal challenges associated with the McGirt v Oklahoma ruling.
For reference: In July 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma (including most of Tulsa) remains an American Indian reservation. The decision meant that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against American Indian defendants in those jurisdictions.
However, in the new law there is no specification that this money can only be used to sue in disputes regarding McGirt. Basically as long as it is recommended by the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations the state can dip into this fund to sue. This is a revolving fund meaning it is continually replenished as withdrawals are made
Sen. Mary Boren argued “Why would the tribes choose to work with the state knowing that we have money to sue them. It compromises our ability to reach agreements in good faith.”
- Reduces the top personal income tax rate from 5 percent to 4.75 percent.
Sen. Julia Kirt argued why are we cutting taxes of the wealthiest in Oklahoma? Those 100k
- Reduces the corporate income tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent.
Kirt argued tax cuts like this continue to keep us dependent on oil and gas. When times are good we cut what few revenue sources we have that are independent of oil and gas.
On another non budget related note, there is a coalition growing in support of a veto referendum seeking to overturn HB 1674. We sent you an action alert regarding this bill when it was moving through the legislature. HB 1674: gives legal protections to drivers who run over peaceful protesters in the street.
In addition to shielding drivers who hit protesters from any criminal or civil liability, the law has the potential to criminally charge organizations that aid a protest if the state government considers it a riot.
If you would like to be a part of this coalition or sign the petition when it opens up, click here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZrg110hBBc9Rwz8QrOJRozzj68K1vCN69Sp1ZWLP00K1rw/viewform
If you’d like to make a donation, click here https://secure.actblue.com/donate/noon816?fbclid=IwAR2mjKyBIfzt3sJFPDdMtnehC6KMJlDP8kih29Iyz00aUd7va5Uf3I78-Y0