The Oklahoma Academy office has been a hub of activity as we are now at a little over a month away from this year’s Town Hall which will focus on how we might modernize Oklahoma’s current tax code to one that combines equity, adequacy, simplicity, transparency, and administrative ease. One of the great quotes used in this year’s Town Hall Resource Document is from Eleanor Roosevelt in which she says, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” As you all know, at the Academy we strive to achieve this exact idea by giving citizens the opportunity to honestly and openly discuss the issues, determine the solutions, and collaborate to develop public policies that they believe will achieve the greatest good for our state. We do this through the Town Hall process.
Town Hall Listening Sessions
The Academy staff along with board members have held 25 listening sessions across the state with more than 350 individuals from all parts of Oklahoma, urban and rural, who have taken part in the sessions and share their ideas on improving the state’s tax code. This year’s listening sessions were two-fold. First, to determine how well informed the attendees were about Oklahoma’s “sources of tax revenue”, we had them take a 22-question quiz, and then submit their responses. Second, utilizing a second unmarked survey for each attendee, we provided the correct answers to each of the questions, thus allowing the attendees to be better informed about how tax dollars are raised and to where they are being allocated. At many of the sessions where time allowed, attendees were then asked if they had any comments, recommendations, or areas they would like to see the Town Hall examine about our tax code. All of this information will serve the participants of the Town Hall well as they work in Aligning Oklahoma’s Tax Code to Our 21st Century. The following are locations where listening sessions were held for 2018: Jay Chamber of Commerce, Owasso Rotary, Barnsdall Chamber, Woodward (Northwest Oklahoma Alliance), Oologah Chamber, Nowata Industrial Authority, Nowata Chamber, Chouteau Chamber, Okmulgee Library, Paseo Plunge, OKC (Together Oklahoma), Oklahoma City (Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Advocacy Group), Muskogee Chamber, Tulsa (TYPros), Broken Bow Lions Club (with Harolyn Wofford), Tulsa (Together Oklahoma), Oklahoma City (United Way), Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce, Stillwater Library (Together Oklahoma), Tulsa (John Hope Franklin Board), Seminole (Seminole State College), Stigler Chamber of Commerce, Enid (Northwest Oklahoma State University), Lawton (Cameron University), Tulsa (Montereau), and Pryor Chamber. We are hope to return to these communities and others to share the Town Hall Recommendations.
2018 Town Hall
Invitations have now been sent out for the 2018 Town Hall entitled “Aligning Oklahoma’s Tax Code to Our 21st Century.” The Town Hall takes place Nov. 11-14, at the River Spirit Conference Center in Tulsa. This Town Hall will address a number of issues such as: where our tax collections come from, how sufficient/insufficient those sources are in meeting our needs, why changes need to be made to both tax source coverage and rates, how restructuring the tax code might help stabilize our resources. If you would like to be a 2018 Oklahoma Academy Town Hall Observer you just have a few days left to submit your form. Click below to download an observer form. Please return your completed observer form to Lauren by October 10.
Oklahoma Academy Salute
The 25th Annual Salute was held in mid-August and was a great success! More than 600 attended the Salute, , which was a record, with 30-plus dignitaries in the attendance. The evening also honored Burns Hargis, President of Oklahoma State University, and Mike Turpen, Partner with Riggs Abney Neal Turpen Orbison & Lewis, with the Oklahoma Key Contributor Award. The Salute is our only fundraiser and the money raised supports our programs and operations for the year to come. We greatly appreciate all who bought tickets to the event and the table sponsors who always help make the Salute a success. We also want to give a special thank you to the 2018 Oklahoma Academy Salute Sales Committee Chairman Bill McKamey and the Salute committee!