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Statewide News

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 24, 2017) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the following remarks in response to an agreement with state legislative leaders to introduce a trailer bill that adds $18 million to the appropriation made in Senate Bill 860.

"While the budget crisis has been a formidable challenge for all involved, I am deeply grateful that the Oklahoma State Legislature has worked hard to successfully make the school funding formula whole for common education. This has been a tough process and many state agencies have weathered steep cuts, but legislators deserve praise for prioritizing education on behalf of Oklahoma’s schoolchildren.

“Under the trailer bill, the Legislature will ensure that the funding formula is preserved and that the state fulfills its statutory obligation to cover 100 percent of the health insurance costs so vital for educators. This agreement is welcome news for Oklahoma schools after a year of uncertainty and financial hardship.”

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the state's request for disaster assistance for 18 counties related to the severe weather that that occurred April 28 – May 2.

The approval means federal funding is available to assist municipalities, counties, rural electric cooperatives and the state with infrastructure repairs and costs associated with responding to the storm.

Disaster assistance is approved for Adair, Beaver, Caddo, Cherokee, Cimarron, Craig, Delaware, Haskell, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Mayes, Muskogee, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Sequoyah, Texas and Washita counties.

The storms caused extensive flooding in eastern and central Oklahoma, and widespread snow and high winds in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Three tornadoes occurred on April 28 and 29, including an EF-2 tornado near Cameron. The weather created treacherous travel conditions, road closures and power outages.

Damage assessments indicate the storm resulted in more than $12.7 million in infrastructure damage, debris and response costs.

Fallin also requested a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration for Cherokee and Haskell counties. That request was approved Monday. It provides SBA low-interest disaster loans for homeowners and business owners to replace any property damaged by the storm that was not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 24, 2017) – Today, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) debuted its newest episode of Elevate+: Changing the Conversation. Elevate+ features extended video segments focusing on innovative and positive topics in public education in Oklahoma. In “Changing the Conversation,” members of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister’s 2016- 2017 Student Advisory Council speak out on two important questions – What would you change about public education in Oklahoma? And how would you redefine your senior year?

Students from Alva, Ardmore, Chisholm, Garber, Millwood, Norman, Owasso, Ponca City, Stilwell and Woodward share their thoughts and ideas about strengthening public education in our state.

The 2016-17 Student Advisory Council consists of 99 high school students from across the state, 31 of whom are returning members who served on last year’s inaugural council. Members of the council were nominated by the superintendents of their districts.

Nominations for the 2017-2018 Student Advisory Council will begin in fall 2017.

Previous Elevate+ segments include:

Dear Freshman: Advice from Upperclassmen

Oklahoma high school students speak out

elevate plus

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin tonight released the following statement after jurors reached their verdict in the trial of Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby:

“I ask Oklahomans to respect our criminal justice system and especially the jurors, who heard the evidence from both sides in this case. Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner. I appeal to Tulsans and others to remain calm. Our thoughts and prayers should be with the Terence Crutcher and Betty Shelby families during this difficult.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:32

Electric Costs on the Rise

Both Mother Nature and many of the electric utility companies have been very kind to everyone over the past 12-18 months. Unfortunately, it is time to get back to reality. Mother Nature skipped the spring season. Actually, most of us would say we skipped winter and went from fall right into spring. Now we are jumping right into summer. At the same time, many of the utility companies have had an increase in the “fuel adjustment” rates on your electrical bills. If you have a “fuel adjustment” charge as part of your utility rate, you are probably paying more for your electrical usage than you were in December. Many OG&E customers started seeing the increased rates in their February bills. OG&E customers are seeing fuel adjustment increases of 29 percent. Here at the Capitol complex we have several facilities that have decreased electrical usage compared to last year and still saw an increase in cost.
Facility: Attorney General Building

Usage: Decreased 8.5%
Cost: Increased 17.1%
Facility: Connors/Hodge Complex

Usage: Decreased 8.9%
Cost: Increased 8.4%
Facility: Governor’s Complex

Usage: Decreased 8.8%
Cost: Increased 2.7%

We have been fortunate. With the mild weather, most of us have seen a decreases in natural gas usage. This has helped to offset the overall utility costs. The bad news, heating season is over. Cooling season is upon us which means increased electrical usage at the higher rates. With the current budget situation this could not be happening at a worse time.

What can we do? Be as efficient with your HVAC and electrical systems as possible. This does not necessarily mean turn everything off. In some cases this will actually cause an increase in usage if implemented at the wrong times. Get the message out to your agency reminding them that it takes everyone’s efforts to be efficient. Turn off lights when not required. Unplug the phone chargers. Turn off the personal fans. Those are the types of things individual employees can do to assist. In regards to your facility HVAC and electrical operations, get with your maintenance departments and discuss facility operations. If you cannot come up with some energy efficiency options, please contact the State Energy Program office. We can assist you with these evaluations.

(Tahlequah, Oklahoma) -- Northeastern State University’s Sequoyah Institute presents the Annie Moses Band as the culmination of the Sequoyah Institute 2016-2017 Performing Arts Series. The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. on April 4 at the NSU Center for the Performing Arts.

The Annie Moses Band has been inspiring and entertaining audiences for over a decade, bringing its distinctive style of music across the nation and around the world. A captivating blend of folk and classical, the Annie Moses Band is a talented ensemble of songwriters, singers and musicians, combining technical skill with exhilarating showmanship. The Band’s innovative sound has delighted audiences around the world in record-breaking numbers of airings on PBS and on stages as diverse as Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry.

The band’s award-winning composers weave diverse musical styles into cinematic arrangements that beautifully showcase their Julliard-honed chops and soaring vocals. The Annie Moses Band combines the best of beloved genres in a style that unifies audiences, young and old.

“When I heard this group live, I was captivated by the musicianship of each of these individuals and the incredible sound they make as a group,” Cindy Chanslor, coordinator of the Sequoyah Institute, said. “And it wasn’t just me; the entire audience was spellbound.”

Chanslor said the community is in for a treat. The Annie Moses Band will share an afternoon performance with area schools prior to the evening performance. School reservations are required; please call 918-458-2075 for details.

Tickets for the evening performance can be purchased online at www.nsuok.edu/si , by phone at 918-458-2075 or in person weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sequoyah Institute Box Office located at 529 Seminary Ave. Tickets will also be available at the Center for the Performing Arts Box Office beginning one hour before show time.

The Sequoyah Institute Performing Arts Series is funded in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council. The Sequoyah Institute can be reached by phone at 918-458-2075.

(Shawnee, Okla. – March 7, 2017) Seven students from St. Gregory’s University attended the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education (ONASHE) Conference on February 25, 2017. The conference offered three days of workshops and a variety of activities.

"The ONASHE American Indian Higher Education conference truly provides our Indigenous student population with an opportunity to discuss, debate and implement their concepts surrounding a variety of issues impacting Indigenous students in higher education settings,” said Cedric Sunray, Co-Activity Director and Retention Specialist. “From the use of Indigenous people as mascots to combating significantly low graduation rates, as well as sharing stories of success, Indigenous students know that their voice is being heard and valued. They are grateful for the support St. Gregory's has provided in insuring their involvement."

Emmaline Barrett, Alyssa Chavez, Sutv Meely, Crystal Pablo, Shannon Foye, Jeffrey Trout, and Phoenix Bills all attended the conference, which celebrated the contributions of American Indian/indigenous populations in higher education and empowered their path towards graduation.

“It was a great experience to be exposed to different Native American cultures here in Oklahoma since I am not from here,” said sophomore Crystal Pablo, a Gallup, New Mexico native. “It was nice having some friends come with me to the event, but also great to meet so many new people.”

Founded in 1875, St. Gregory’s University is Oklahoma’s oldest institution of higher learning and only Catholic university. St. Gregory’s offers a liberal arts education rooted in the Benedictine tradition of cultivating the whole person – mind, body and spirit. With campuses in Shawnee and Tulsa, St. Gregory’s features both traditional and adult degree programs, including associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. For more information about the University, visit www.stgregorys.edu.

Governor Mary Fallin Declares State of Emergency for 22 Counties Due to Wildfires, Critical Fire Conditions

OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today issued an executive order to declare a state of emergency for 22 counties due to ongoing wildfires and critical fire weather conditions.

The counties included in the governor’s declaration are: Alfalfa, Beaver, Blaine, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Kingfisher, Logan, Major, Noble, Osage, Payne, Pawnee, Roger Mills, Texas, Woods and Woodward.

Estimates show between 200,000 and 300,000 acres have already burned in Beaver, Harper and Woodward counties alone, where dangerous fire conditions are expected to continue tonight and tomorrow.

Under the executive order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. It is also the first step toward seeking federal aid should it be necessary.

The executive order is in effect for 30 days and could be amended to include additional counties if conditions warrant.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gross Receipts to the Treasury in February were slightly higher than those in the same month of last year. It marked a second month of positive growth following 20 months of contraction, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced today.

February also marked the first increase in sales tax collections since March of last year and only the fourth month of positive sales tax numbers in the past two years.

At $759.5 million, total February Gross Receipts to the Treasury expanded by $1 million, or 0.1 percent, compared to February of 2016.

“State budget problems and missed estimates notwithstanding, indications from gross receipts and other measurements show a marginally improving Oklahoma economy,” Miller said. “The revitalized economic activity might take some time to filter down into the state budget, but we have good reasons to remain cautiously optimistic.”

State Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger has declared a revenue failure for the remainder of the current fiscal year due to projections of General Revenue Fund (GRF) allocations falling further below appropriated levels. In addition, the state Board of Equalization has certified an almost $900 million reduction in estimated revenue for Fiscal Year 2018.

The GRF, the state’s primary funding source, is a subset of Gross Receipts to the Treasury and growth in total collections don’t necessarily directly result in GRF increases. The latest report on GRF allocations will be made next week by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

February gross production collections from crude oil and natural gas rose to $37.9 million and were more than the same month of the prior year for a fifth consecutive month. February collections come from December oil field activity when the average price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil was $51.97 per barrel.

While February sales tax and gross production collections showed improvement, both individual and corporate income tax and motor vehicle gross collections decreased from the prior year.

Gross receipts for the past 12 months total $10.8 billion and are $624.2 million, or 5.5 percent, less than collections from the previous 12-month period. Each of the state’s major revenue sources – income, gross production, sales and motor vehicle taxes – are less than collections from the prior 12-months.

Other indicators

For a seventh consecutive month, Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in January was higher than the national jobless number. However, at 4.9 percent, the state jobless rate has decreased by one-tenth of one percentage point each month since October. The U.S. unemployment rate was set at 4.8 percent in January.

The Oklahoma Business Conditions Index, predicting economic activity for the next three to six months, was set at 59 in February. It marks a second consecutive month above growth neutral following seven months of negative ratings. Numbers above 50 indicate anticipated economic expansion.

February collections

The report for February lists gross receipts at $759.5 million, up $1 million, or 0.1 percent, from February 2016.

Gross income tax collections, a combination of individual and corporate income taxes, generated $238.1million, a decrease of $8.6 million, or 3.5 percent, from the previous February.

Individual income tax collections for the month are $232.4 million, down by $5.9 million, or 2.5 percent, from the prior year. Corporate collections are $5.7 million, down by $2.7 million, or 32.4 percent. Wide monthly variances in corporate collections are not uncommon.

Sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, total $323.9 million in February. That is $2.2 million, or 0.7 percent, more than February of last year.

Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $37.9 million during the month, an increase of $9.3 million, or 32.4 percent, from last February. Compared to January reports, gross production collections are up by $4.8 million, or 14.7 percent, over the month.

Motor vehicle taxes produced $53.5 million, down by $6.6 million, or 11 percent, from the prior year.

Other collections, consisting of about 60 different sources including taxes on fuel, tobacco, horse race gambling and alcoholic beverages, produced $106.2 million during the month. That is $4.7 million, or 4.6 percent, more than last February.

12-month collections

During the last 12 months, gross revenue totals $10.8 billion. That is $624.2 million, or 5.5 percent, below collections from the preceding 12-month period.

Gross income taxes generated $3.9 billion for the March 2016-February 2017 period, reflecting a drop of $404.5 million, or 9.4 percent, from the preceding period, March 2015-February 2016.

Individual income tax collections total $3.5 billion, down by $259.4 million, or 6.9 percent, from the prior 12 months. Corporate collections are $434.8 million for the period, a decrease of $145 million, or 25 percent, from the previous 12 months.

During the past 12 months, sales taxes generated $4.2 billion, a decrease of $125.9 million, or 2.9 percent, from the trailing period.

Oil and gas gross production tax collections brought in $367.3 million during the 12 months, down by $51.9 million, or 12.4 percent, from the prior period.

Motor vehicle collections total $740.1 million for the period. This is a decrease of $24 million, or 3.1 percent, from the prior 12 months.

Other sources generated $1.6 billion, down $17.9 million, or 1.1 percent, from the previous 12 months.

About Gross Receipts to the Treasury

Since March 2011, the Treasurer’s Office has issued the monthly Gross Receipts to the Treasury report, which provides a timely and broad view of the state’s macro economy.

It is provided in conjunction with the General Revenue Fund allocation report from the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which provides important information to state agencies for budgetary planning purposes.

The General Revenue Fund receives slightly less than half of the state’s gross receipts with the remainder paid in rebates and refunds, remitted to cities and counties, and placed into off-the-top earmarks to other state funds.

See charts and graphs HERE

Ready, Set, Go!

Get READY by clearing out your garages, homes and sheds!

SET your items up to sell to the thousands of folks that come out each year to find your one of a kind treasures!

GO to the bank with all of the cash that you will make at the 12 Annual Ten Mile Yard Sale in Longtown, Ok!

Every year on the Saturday of Father’s day weekend, garage doors fly open, tables are set to hold everything from clothing to antiques and signs begin popping up to direct visitors to the front yard of those homes from Eufaula Ok 9E jct. all the way through Enterprise, Ok.

Call 918-429-9436 with any questions or to rent booth space. Space ranges from $30 to $75 with electricity. If you have space that you are willing to rent, let us know and maybe we can help fill it.

Saturday, June 17th is the date set for this year’s sale and is sponsored by the nonprofit, Longtown Merchants Association! It usually runs daylight until you drop! We will need several food vendors to serve the folks along the 20+ miles that the sale runs so please call to find space to set up.

See you Saturday, June 17th for Longtown’s 12th Annual 10 Mile Yard Sale!!

Just an hour from Okmulgee!

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