Week No. 13 of 56th Legislature
Total Senate Bills and SJRs introduced in 2017: 877
Total reported from committees: 412
Total reported out of the Senate: 347
Total House bills & HJRs reported to Senate: 320
Total House bills reported to the full Senate: 245
Total House bills reported out of the Senate: 232
There is always a lot of anxiety, hyperbole, and doomsday predictions this time of year about the budget not being done and the consequences of that.
The Senate will get its work done, the Senate will get a budget passed and sent to the governor.
A variety of proposals are being discussed to help fill the nearly $900 million shortfall
Already, the Senate sent the governor several measures generating millions in new revenue this week
o That was the plan all along as the Senate and the House have been working on these measures constantly
HB 2348 – “decoupling” state tax return deductions from federal deductions; raises $4 million now, helps us avoid millions in an anticipated shortfall if the Feds were to change the federal tax code
HB 2361: pro-sports ticket fee; raises $2.6 million
HB 2357: increases reinstatement fee for non-payment of franchise taxes; $775,000
HB 2358: eligible purchaser discount sunset (motor fuel tax structure); no FY18 money
The Senate generated more than $250 million in revenues through apportionment reforms
o $250 million – ROADS apportionment (SB837)
o $12 million – CIRB apportionment (SB838)
That’s on top of $17million generated from HB2343 (David) increasing compliance with state sales tax laws (signed by governor) and HB 2344 (David) which generates $1 million by lowering the cap on the state film tax credit
Revenue raising measures have to start in the House; the Senate is in discussion – and has been all session – about which proposals put forward will eventually be put up for consideration, passed and sent to the governor’s desk
o Several proposals being discussed and negotiated: cigarette tax increase; fuel tax increase; modifying deductions allowed on personal income taxes
All of these measures are evidence of Senate Republicans’ commitment to reforms that provide new revenue to shore up this year’s budget shortfall, as well as provide stability and reliability long-term for the state budget.
SCHOOL EFFICIENCY STUDY:
o SB 514 (Stanislawski) – task force to study average daily memberships of school districts, ways to reduce admin costs and improve financial stability of school districts
o Another effort to ensure peak performance and efficiency to make sure tax dollars in education make it into the classroom to support students and teachers
Teacher Pay Raise:
o Senate Republicans have consistently said the goal was to put a framework in place this year for how a much-needed pay raise would be implemented when there is sustainable revenue to pay for it.
o There are options available to advance a teacher pay-raise plan if an agreement is reached.
o The Senate and the House continue to discuss this important subject because Oklahoma Senate Republicans agree that teachers deserve a pay raise.
SB 543 (Simpson) – creates state cemetery for veterans in Ardmore; state would have to provide $1 million upfront but would be reimbursed by federal Veterans Affairs this year.
Addresses a national shortage of space for veterans cemeteries
Provides a way to honor veterans who have served our country with an honored and dignified final resting place