State finances: Deposits to Oklahoma’s General Revenue Fund continued above expectations in November, but not as much as in recent months, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services reported.
November’s total was $602.6 million, which is 11.2% more than budgeted but only 0.3% above the same month a year ago.
“Collections performed well in November but have started to trend downward along with the broader economy,” state Chief Operating Officer and Interim OMES Director John Suter said in a press release. “We must be mindful that prices are steadily increasing, and with the Federal Reserve having aggressively raised interest rates since February, unemployment is also on a slight rise.”
For the first five months of fiscal year 2023, general revenue is nearly 25% above the projections on which the current state budget is based.
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Income and sales taxes, the state’s two main revenue sources, remained strong in November, but gross production tax receipts dropped sharply as oil prices slumped.
The General Revenue Fund is the state’s primary operating account.
Christmas SHOPPing: Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration announced that state hospitals will be receiving $52 million from the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program, known as SHOPP.
SHOPP typically uses fees from state hospitals as matching funds for federal Medicaid reimbursements. In this case, $8 million in state money is being used to bring in $44 million in federal money.
Payments will be distributed to hospitals based on Medicaid claims.
Campaigns and elections: Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced last week that he will seek a second term during tribal elections in 2023.
Across the state, two minor discrepancies, consisting of one vote in each of two precincts, were found in the Oklahoma State Election Board’s mandatory post-general election audit.
The audit consisted of manual recounts for single races in 108 precincts in all 77 counties. By law, the audits cannot be used to change final election results.
Tulsa County audited the Precinct 93 results for 1st District Congress. No discrepancy was found.
Statewide, the discrepancies consisted of one vote in Okmulgee County for corporation commissioner and one vote for state Supreme Court retention in Johnston County.
High school: State Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula, is the latest legislator to wade into high school sports management.
Randleman said he’ll introduce legislation to require a “more fair system” of determining how schools are divided into classifications.
Classifications are determined by what’s called average daily membership, which is basically enrollment.
“Historically, there are many more private schools that make the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in basketball and football than public schools,” Randleman said in a press release. “The goal of this bill is to help organize a playoff system that was more individualized and fair to all our students.”
In 2022, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, a nongovernmental organization, sponsored nine football championships in 11-man and 8-man football. The only private schools to reach the finals were Oklahoma City Heritage Hall and Tulsa Metro Christian in Class 3A.
In basketball, two of the 14 boys’ finalists were private schools. None of the 14 girls’ finalists were.
However, public schools have long complained that private schools are better able to recruit outside a designated attendance area. Magnet and charter public schools further complicate the situation.
Bottom lines: The Oklahoma State Department of Education reported that 80% of the state’s school districts pay above the statutory minimum scale. … Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Tina Glory-Johnson has been named to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s first Tribal Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. … State Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, filed several bills attempting to prevent the enforcement of some federal laws and regulations in Oklahoma. … State Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow, was appointed to the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse.
— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World
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