Flattening: Gross revenue to the state treasury in December exceeded the total for the same month a year ago by 5.7% — normally a sign of healthy growth but in this case barely in line with inflation.
In making his last report before leaving office on Monday, state Treasurer Randy McDaniel noted that the record flow of tax revenue into state coffers over the past year or more is slowing.
Sales and use tax receipts were up 5% in December from a year ago and income taxes, the state’s other major revenue source, were up only 2.3%. Gross production receipts continued strong, up 26.9%.
The December report comes as Gov. Kevin Stitt and lawmakers contemplate some form of tax relief as they head into this spring’s legislative session.
Gross revenue to the treasury is all taxes paid to the state, including those collected on behalf of local governments and money returned to taxpayers in the form of rebates and refunds.
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Overruled: House Democrats complained bitterly Tuesday about a new rule allowing the presiding officer to delete the vote of members in violation of any House rules while a vote is open.
Democrats are particularly prickly about rules because they’re outnumbered 4-to-1, which means the Republican majority can suspend any rule when it suits them and Democrats have virtually no recourse.
In this case, they weren’t even allowed on the committee that drew up the rules. They were asked for suggestions, of which one was adopted.
House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, said he considers the change fairer for all members than cash fines, which in the past have been as much as $1,000.
The Democrats, who have a non-binary member, also asked to change a reference to “he or she” in the rules to “the member,” but Republicans refused to even vote on it.
Billable: Among bills filed for the upcoming legislative session:
Senate Bill 44, by Sen. Michael Bergstrom, R-Adair, would require public school districts to provide remediation courses for students failing to meet ACT or SAT benchmarks. The fiscal and curricular impact of such a requirement is unclear.
SB 78, by Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, would allow certified copies of county land records to be signed, notarized and recorded electronically.
Among Sen. Nathan Dahm’s numerous filings is SB 165, which would prohibit the addition of fluoride to public water supplies.
Meetings and events: Tina Massey, executive director of Tulsa Family Promise, will speak on family homelessness at the monthly meeting of Heart of the Party, the Tulsa County Chapter of the Oklahoma Federation of Democratic Women, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, at Baxter’s Interurban, 717 S. Houston Ave.
Tulsa County Commissioner Kelly Dunkerley will be the featured speaker at the Tulsa County Republican Men’s Club at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Oklahoma Joe’s, 6175 E. 61st St.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler and his wife, Dr. Christine Kunzweiler, will discuss mental health and their family’s experiences at the Republican Women’s Club of Tulsa County meeting at 11:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at Tulsa Country Club, 701 N. Union Ave. The meeting is one week later than usual this month. RSVP to email@example.com
Bottom lines: As leader of the House Democrats, Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City, became the first Asian-American nominated for state speaker of the House. … Rep. Kyle Hilbert, D-Bristow, whose district includes western Tulsa County, will continue as House Speaker Pro Tempore, the No. 2 position in the House. … Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, was named to the No. 2 position in the House Democratic caucus. … Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairwoman Alicia Andrews accused 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern of “playing footsie with extremists” because he did not publicly distance himself from renegade Republicans who nominated him for U.S. Speaker of the House. … U.S. Sen. James Lankford endorsed former staffer Maressa Treat, wife of state Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, for Oklahoma County Clerk. … Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell is one of 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats nationally chosen for the Rodel Fellowship program originated by former Oklahoma Congressman Mickey Edwards.
— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World