Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Budget Hole Jumps to $1.3 Billion Amid Downturn

Oklahoma finance officials say the hole in next year's budget has increased to $1.3 billion, or nearly 20 percent of last year's spending, amid depressed oil prices. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced Thursday that plunging revenue collections have widened the shortfall from the original projection of $900 million in December. A state panel led by Gov. Mary Fallin will meet next week to certify how much legislators can spend in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Falli...
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This is Sample Size, our weekly new music feature with KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC music critic Matt Carney.

Today, Matt brings us the revolution rock of Sheer Mag, the biggest song of the past week from Beyonce, and Open Mike Eagle's song about obsessively checking your phone.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant about Governor Fallin's call to protect some corporate tax credits, the general revenue took another hit falling $105M below the estimate in January and just two weeks into the 2016 legislative session there have already been some surprises.

Headlines for Friday, February 12, 2016:

  • The budget hole for lawmakers grows by another $400 million. (Tulsa World)

  • The end of possible tax breaks leads Boeing to cancel projects. (NewsOK)

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma finance officials say the hole in next year's budget has increased to $1.3 billion, or nearly 20 percent of last year's spending, amid depressed oil prices.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced Thursday that plunging revenue collections have widened the shortfall from the original projection of $900 million in December.

A state panel led by Gov. Mary Fallin will meet next week to certify how much legislators can spend in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

It costs a lot of money to clean, transport and dispose of water. Big cities can spread the cost of multi-million dollar sewer or treatment projects across thousands of customers. But many small Oklahoma towns don’t have that option, and often rely on a state-funded grant program that’s being squeezed by budget cuts.

CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

On Wednesday, three House bills I'm keeping an eye on managed to get through committees. Here's a brief summary of what these bills entail and what happened:

Headlines for Thursday, February 11, 2016:

  • Governor Fallin is walking back her State of the State call to remove some tax credits. (NewsOK)

  • A bill requiring upper level judges to run for election narrowly passes a House Committee. (Journal Record)

The father of two men who were among the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and are now in jail, was himself arrested in Portland, Ore., Wednesday night.

Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher prominent in protests to end federal control of western lands, is being held in the Multnomah County Detention Center. His sons Ammon and Ryan were arrested Jan. 27 and are there as well.

Update at 1:50 p.m. ET: Bundy Is Charged With Conspiracy

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Clean Power Plan — President Barack Obama’s push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants — won’t be implemented until after a lawsuit from 27 states, including Oklahoma, is resolved.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has suspended his campaign for president.

"And while running for president I tried to reinforce what I have always believed — that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters and that it will always matter in leading our nation," said Christie in a post on Facebook.

The decision comes after a sixth-place finish in New Hampshire, where Christie had banked so much of his political capital.

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Education News

Lawmakers filed hundreds of education bills this session, seeking solutions to teacher pay, testing, and school funding in general. Here is a list of more than 30 bills that KOSU will be following closely this legislative session.

BILLS CONCERNING EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

U.S. Department of Education / Flickr

Oklahoma’s new English Language Arts and Math standards are finally complete, and have been approved by the State Board of Education. They now await the legislature’s approval. 

The Department of Education was tasked with creating new math and English standards after the Oklahoma legislature repealed the Common Core curriculum in 2014.

Oklahoma Senator David Holt is proposing $10,000 teacher pay raises over the next few years. And Holt says this can be done without raising taxes. 

His plan is three pronged. School districts would be consolidated and excess money would go to teacher pay. All revenue growth after fiscal year 2017 would go directly to raises, and the the state would find another $200 million by reforming tax credits.

Holt said legislators have a moral obligation to raise pay, and help solve the teacher shortage.

More Education News

KOSU Program

A weekly two-hour show of Oklahoma music, from across the state. The show opens a window of Oklahoma music to the rest of the world.

Political News

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant about Governor Fallin's call to protect some corporate tax credits, the general revenue took another hit falling $105M below the estimate in January and just two weeks into the 2016 legislative session there have already been some surprises.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

On Wednesday, three House bills I'm keeping an eye on managed to get through committees. Here's a brief summary of what these bills entail and what happened:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has suspended his campaign for president.

"And while running for president I tried to reinforce what I have always believed — that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters and that it will always matter in leading our nation," said Christie in a post on Facebook.

The decision comes after a sixth-place finish in New Hampshire, where Christie had banked so much of his political capital.

More News

Weeknights with Ferris

Hear Ferris O'Brien every weeknight, from 9 p.m. to midnight, on The Spy.