Tuesday 29 Jul
 
 
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OKG Newsletter


Topic: Scoop

Table and chairs

Incoming Senate President Pro Temp Glen Coffee has named his selections to head up the various Senate committees. He named 20 chairman who will help usher in a new Republican majority.

There was one selection of note. Sen. Harry Coates will head up the Business and Labor Committee. Why is this pick interesting? Coates has been one of the more vocal opponents of the state's controversial anti-immigration laws, House Bill 1804. Look for Coates to possibly try to roll back or neutralize 1804 through his committee.

by Scott Cooper 11.25.2008 5 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Analyst analyzes

CNN analyst and author Jeffrey Toobin was in town to give his thoughts about the Supreme Court. It was to help promote his book "The Nine" which gives an inside look at the court. He spoke before a lunch crowd of the Oklahoma Bar Association annual convention in downtown Oklahoma City.

But before he talked about the court, Toobin reflected on his Oklahoma experiences which included covering the Oklahoma City bombing.

"It was here in Oklahoma City where the victim's rights movement started and that was very inspirational," Toobin said.

He called the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial "moving and inspirational" and one of the most successful memories in the country.

Toobin also took note of the city's new basketball team and his delight over the Thunder.

"Now there is a team worse than the New York Knicks."

by Scott Cooper 11.22.2008 5 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Analyst analyzes

CNN analyst and author Jeffrey Toobin was in town to give his thoughts about the Supreme Court. It was to help promote his book "The Nine" which gives an inside look at the court. He spoke before a lunch crowd of the Oklahoma Bar Association annual convention in downtown Oklahoma City.

But before he talked about the court, Toobin reflected on his Oklahoma experiences which included covering the Oklahoma City bombing.

"It was here in Oklahoma City where the victim's rights movement started and that was very inspirational," Toobin said.

He called the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial "moving and inspirational" and one of the most successful memories in the country.

Toobin also took note of the city's new basketball team and his delight over the Thunder.

"Now there is a team worse than the New York Knicks."

by Scott Cooper 11.22.2008 5 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Running short

A state think tank on fiscal issues released a report showing state coffers are filling up with sinful dollars. But tax cuts are casting out the sins.

The Oklahoma Policy Institute looked at the numbers since Oklahomans approved a series of measures four years ago aimed at boosting the state's economy. The measures included a state lottery, gambling compacts with Native American tribes and an increase in the tobacco tax.

During the past fiscal year, the state collected $286.9 million from what some term sinful money. The money is earmarked for education and health care. Since the new revenue streams were enacted, more than $700 million has been brought in.

But OPI concludes the gains are about to be wiped out by tax cuts the state recently put in place. While voters were approving the new measures, the Legislature and the governor were signing off on tax cuts. OPI estimates nearly three-fourths of the new money has been erased due to tax cuts. The total amount brought in from the lottery, gambling and tobacco is $763 million. The tax cuts total $562 million.

"We calculate that in the absence of both the new revenue sources and the tax cuts, the education agencies funded by the lottery and gaming (Common Education, Higher Education and Career Tech) would have been appropriated some $127 million more than they actually received," OPI stated in a report. "By contrast, the combination of the tobacco tax increase and tax cuts led to a net funding increase for health care agencies."

 

by Scott Cooper 11.13.2008 5 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

A horrible great night

It was a horrible night for Oklahoma Democrats. They lost control of the state Senate. They lost more seats in the state House. Their incumbent corporation commission candidate was upset. In fact, Democrats didn't win a single statewide vote.

But you could not detect any sorrows at the election night watch party at the Skirvin Hotel.

In what seemed like a sea of supporters, people were dancing, clapping, singing and hugging as Barack Obama was declared the next president of the United States.

I shot a little three-minute video of the evening just as Obama was declared the winner. There is no audio for it was shot on my digital camera, but the video speaks for itself.

by Scott Cooper 11.06.2008 5 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

A horrible great night

It was a horrible night for Oklahoma Democrats. They lost control of the state Senate. They lost more seats in the state House. Their incumbent corporation commission candidate was upset. In fact, Democrats didn't win a single statewide vote.

But you could not detect any sorrows at the election night watch party at the Skirvin Hotel.

In what seemed like a sea of supporters, people were dancing, clapping, singing and hugging as Barack Obama was declared the next president of the United States.

I shot a little three-minute video of the evening just as Obama was declared the winner. There is no audio for it was shot on my digital camera, but the video speaks for itself.

by Scott Cooper 11.06.2008 5 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Don't forget

If remembering who to vote for president, senator, judge, sheriff and whatever else appears on the ballot was not enough, there are four state questions to contend with as well. Not quite as controversial as cock fighting or gay marriage, but for some Oklahomans just as important.

Here they are in order of the ballot with my predictions for pass or fail.

STATE QUESTION NO. 735

by Scott Cooper 11.05.2008 5 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 
books

Election day images


Candy Banks, a worker at one of Norman's voting precincts, anticipated the long lines which have been common throughout the day and had a box of books at the ready for anyone standing in line.

ou.jpg
The line for students to vote down at OU stretched outside the Cross Main center on the south part of the campus.
by Scott Cooper 11.05.2008 5 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

OCPA re-examining Oklahoma high school survey

A survey which made national news by claiming only one in four Oklahoma high-school students could name the first president of the United States is being re-examined by the survey's sponsor, Oklahoma Gazette has confirmed.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs commissioned national research firm Strategic Vision to conduct the survey of 1,000 Oklahoma high school students on their knowledge of basic American civics. The survey, coinciding with national Constitution Day back in September, used questions from the U.S. citizenship test for immigrants. It was conducted via telephone interviews and concluded less than 3 percent of Oklahoma high school students would pass the test.

But questions have surfaced throughout the internet about the methods used by Strategic Vision on various polling studies including the Oklahoma survey.

"Strategic Vision has been taking a beating lately, so we thought it would be wise to take a closer look at the raw data and the methodology," said OCPA Vice President for Policy Brandon Dutcher.

OCPA is a conservative think tank located in Oklahoma City. For several years, OCPA has been critical of public education methods and funding.

So far, OCPA is standing behind the survey.

"Nothing I've seen would cause me to toss out the results," Dutcher said.

One organization which has put Strategic Vision under the microscope is fivethirtyeight.com, a Web site devoted to examining the accuracy of polling data. The organization has questioned SV for its practice of not releasing detailed data and its polling methodology when it publishes surveys.

"One of the questions, in light of Strategic Vision LLC's repeated failure to disclose even basic details about its polling methodology, is whether the firm is in fact conducting polling at all, or rather, is creating fake but plausible-looking results in order to increase traffic and attention to its core business as a (public relations) and literary firm," said the organization's founder Nate Silver in a blog posted Sept. 25.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has also criticized the survey.

"This telephone survey was done in Arizona, too, with virtually identical results," department spokeswoman Shelly Hickman said. "We question whether youth participants took the phone calls seriously and whether the poll truly constituted a scientific sample of all Oklahoma high school students. These are just two reasons out of many why telephone polls are not regarded as a credible way of measuring students' knowledge of any subject."

Gazette has asked SV CEO and co-founder David Johnson for a response to the criticism. His response will posted as soon as it is received.

by Scott Cooper 10.14.2009 4 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Transferred out

What can the state do to prevent handing out millions of dollars in tax credits to risky companies who don't follow through on their promises? That is one of the objectives of a Legislative task force which met for the first time today.

The joint House and Senate task force to study transferable tax credits kicked off what will be a series of meetings looking at the state laws which have created several tax credits to businesses, some of which lawmakers are not too happy about. The task force was recommended by Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, who had a slew of questions concerning some of the information presented at the first meeting. Dank's biggest concerns dealt with how laws can be better written to be more selective when handing out transferable tax credits, and what can be done to make sure the credits are accounted for and wisely spent.

Dank's insistence on the study stems from questionable awarding of certain tax credits, mainly the $18 million given to Rocketplane back in 2003. The company was supposed to build a spaceship capable of carrying tourists into the Earth's atmosphere for a few minutes and then back down to Oklahoma. But six years after receiving the credit, Rocketplane has left the state with their ship still on the drawing board.

Officials with the Oklahoma Tax Commission presented information which showed the state has paid out transferable tax credits to nine different industries. In 2007, the commission handed out more than $42 million in transferable tax credits, which are specialized credits a business can sell and obtain cash instead of reducing their income tax rate.

What seem to be concerning for some of the task force members was that a large chunk of the money used for these tax credits are coming from the state's retirement fund for employees like teachers and state troopers.

It's uncertain what the task force will come up with before the next Legislative session, but deals like the one given to Rocketplane will be avoided from now on.

by Scott Cooper 09.30.2009 4 years ago
at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 
 
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