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Building a State

By Jonathan Small and Larry Parman In 2018 much of the focus in the state Capitol building will be on building a budget. But in this issue of Perspective, we urge policymakers to remember the larger imperative: building a state.  There are two bedrock issues which are absolutes in building a great... READ MORE

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Reform the Budgeting Process

By Byron Schlomach Oklahoma needs greater transparency, an all-funds budget, and a streamlined revenue-estimation process. The budget process for a state is more than simply putting numbers on a ledger, and far more than making comparisons to what was spent last year in order to adjust for inflati... READ MORE

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Know the Facts on SQ 640

By Jonathan Small Some Oklahoma lawmakers are looking to wage war against SQ 640, claiming it confines government by making any revenue-raising measures impossible to pass. But that’s not true. If you want to regulate speech, you belittle the First Amendment. If you want to confiscate guns, you vi... READ MORE

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To Help Needy Oklahomans, Implement Medicaid Audits

By Tom Newell If robbers pulled off a $19 billion heist, the story would be on the front page of every major news source. Unfortunately, a similar scheme occurs every year—and few people are talking about it. Annually, billions of dollars are lost—and stolen—from taxpayers and the truly needy thro... READ MORE

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Enact Criminal-Justice Reform

Thailand is a third-world country notorious for human rights abuses and a corrupt criminal justice system. So it should not come as a surprise to learn Thailand puts more women behind bars per capita than any nation on earth. Oklahoma, however, incarcerates women at double the rate of Thailand. Our... READ MORE

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Three Important Judicial Reforms

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court district boundaries have not changed since the 1960s. While people have moved around, those lines have stayed the same for half a century. This isn’t merely unfair—it also hurts the quality of our judiciary for basic reasons described by James Madison. In "The Federalist Pa... READ MORE

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School Serves Children of Incarcerated Parents

By Mike Brake What challenges do children with parents in prison face? Ask Robin Khoury, founder and director of Little Light Christian School in Oklahoma City: “Shame. Grief. Anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Poverty.  Attention deficit or hyperactivity. Attachment disorders. And a wide ra... READ MORE

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Create Scholarships for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Oklahoma has an important private-school voucher program, the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program for Children with Disabilities. The program, enacted in 2010, is helping teenage students who are battling addiction, bullied children who contemplated suicide, rural students who want a faith-bas... READ MORE

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Give School Districts Flexibility to Raise Teacher Pay

Oklahoma’s education system is enjoying near-record revenues. Unfortunately, as OCPA’s education data tool makes clear, too much of the money is cordoned off in silos. Thus we end up with unfortunate scenarios like what’s going on in Catoosa Public Schools. Citing a lack of funding, Catoosa went to ... READ MORE

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Relax School Regulations

By Greg Forster In Oklahoma and across the nation, we’ve been trying to improve education by tightening regulations on schools. The 1889 Institute recently published a database of mandates that Oklahoma public schools have to follow, and it’s a mind-boggling experience. The irony is that better edu... READ MORE

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Expand Parental Choice in Education

By Brandon Dutcher Oklahoma has two private-school choice programs which are benefiting students. In 2018, policymakers should expand them and enact new ones. Vouchers Oklahoma’s private-school voucher program, the Lindsey Nicole Henry (LNH) Scholarship Program for Children with Disabilities, is ... READ MORE

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Let Teachers Vote on Unions

By Jonathan Small Helping teachers and students succeed is a goal we all share, a goal that matters most for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable young people. Getting public policy right in the area of education includes respecting teachers and freeing them from the shackles of old, outmoded systems. One o... READ MORE

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Limit Local Taxing Power

By Trent England Because taxing income means disincentivizing paid work, OCPA advocates shifting the state of Oklahoma away from reliance on income taxes. Moreover, state lawmakers should eliminate the possibility of local income taxes within Oklahoma—while allowing city governments to access avail... READ MORE

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Stop Conspiring with Zero Emissions

By Byron Schlomach Suppose I told you of a way to imperil the state’s budget, force needless investment spending in an industry that everyone depends on so everyone must help to pay for that spending, destabilize the electric grid, and hand millions of dollars to foreign companies, all at the same ... READ MORE

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Two Reforms for TSET

By Trent England He approaches you on the sidewalk and asks for money. He does look a little disheveled, maybe down on his luck, but something catches your eye. In the cart behind him is a cashbox with its lid partly open. In fact, the lid can’t close because it’s packed to overflowing with twenty-... READ MORE

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Finish the Job on Federal-Funds Transparency

By Brandon Dutcher In 2015 a very important piece of legislation, House Bill 1748, required Oklahoma state agencies to publicly report the amount of federal funding they receive and the strings attached to that money. The measure passed overwhelmingly in both chambers. Disappointingly, it was ... READ MORE