Over the weekend, millions of Americans had the opportunity to sign up for health insurance as the annual enrollment window opened for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
University of Minnesota political scientist Lawrence Jacobs traveled to Oklahoma City last week to speak at an Oklahoma Policy Institute luncheon. He argued state and federal officials would soon shift discussions away from an outright repeal of the healthcare plan.
An Oklahoma City lawmaker plans to file legislation next year to raise the subminimum wage for some service-sector employees.
Democratic Rep. Mike Shelton says that under current law workers younger than 20, workers who earn tips and some other categories of employees can legally be paid below-minimum hourly wages.
An employer whose workers receive tips is required to pay a minimum wage of $2.13 per hour, provided that amount plus the tips equals at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. That equates to $290 per week for a full-time, 40-hour employee.
A new poll shows 64 percent of Oklahoma voters oppose state tax incentives for horizontal drilling and support eliminating the incentive to pay for other government services.
Oklahoma levies a 7 percent tax on oil and gas production, but the horizontal drilling incentive lowers the rate to 1 percent for the first 48 months of production. The incentive expires in 2015, and some Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing to make the reduced rate permanent.
Gov. Mary Fallin took her policy priorities to the overall friendly audience of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber last week. Speaking to the pro-business group’s members, Fallin reiterated her call for a cut to the state income tax rate and the graduation of more “job ready” residents.
That’s how much the governor is asking most entities in state government to cut their budgets. The number should not be much of a surprise. The amount of money available for state lawmakers to spend for the next fiscal year was already down about $171 million over the current year’s figure.
State leaders expect a $170 million shortfall. This year's budget was just half a percent larger than five years ago, without adjusting for inflation. And projections estimate a deficit of up to $2 billion by 2035.
Census Bureau data released in September show that one in six Oklahomans were a part of a family falling below the poverty line - $19,090 for a three-person household. The figures analyzed by the Oklahoma Policy Institute show 23.8 percent of Oklahoma children live in poverty, an increase of 1.7 percent over the last five years.