Mike Mazzei

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a final agreement on a budget between legislative leaders and Governor Stitt and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative think tank, levels a constitutional challenge against an initiative petition to put Medicaid expansion before voters on the 2020 ballot.

oksenate.gov

A Senate panel has advanced Governor Kevin Stitt’s nominee for Secretary of the Budget.

The process was halted last week after a fiery debate in the Senate Appropriations Committee, but, on Monday, members voted unanimously to support Mike Mazzei for the job.

Part of the contention last week involved worries the new governor was telling agencies not to talk to lawmakers, but Mazzei immediately calmed concerns in his opening statement.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a row in a Senate committee over a gubernatorial nomination for Finance Secretary as worry grows concerning executive power over state agencies, criminal justice advocates worry about a former corrections reform opponent working on Stitt's team and the House opens an investigation against a Republican lawmakers leveled by the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

As crude prices limp along, a tax rebate for “economically at-risk” wells is poised to grow into one of the state’s biggest tax breaks for business and industry.

Two years ago, when Oklahoma crude was selling for about $100 a barrel, the rebates totaled just $11 million, Oklahoma Watch’s Warren Vieth reports:

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the upcoming Super Tuesday Presidential Primary election including recent visits to the Sooner State by candidates, the Libertarian Party gathers enough signatures to be placed on the ballot along with the Republicans and Democrats and a bill to delay the current tax cut makes it out of committee.

oksenate.gov

A reduction in the state's income tax rate that went into effect on Jan. 1 for most Oklahomans would be rolled back under a bill passed easily on a bipartisan vote in a Senate panel.

Despite objections to the bill from both Gov. Mary Fallin and House Speaker Jeff Hickman, the Senate Finance Committee voted 10-2 on Tuesday to advance the bill to the full Senate.

Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Mazzei wrote the bill and says the reduction in the state's top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent should not have gone into effect amid a revenue failure.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill in May 2015 ending a program that afforded many wind developers a five-year exemption on property taxes. The measure, Senate Bill 498, authored by Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, was projected to save the state $500 million over 10 years by sunsetting an ad valorem exemption on Jan. 1 2017.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The wind energy boom has largely evaded Oklahoma’s Panhandle, but new turbine projects and a proposal for a $2 billion transmission line could transform the prairie into a national wind energy hub.

But the projects are being planned amid uncertainty at the state Capitol, where tax credits for the wind industry are in the crosshairs.

FILLING IN THE TRANSMISSION GAP

Despite being one of the state’s richest sources of wind energy, the Oklahoma Panhandle is home to very few wind farms.

Carroll Beaman knows why. The fourth-generation farmer was born during the height of the Dust Bowl and still owns the homestead his family settled shortly after the turn of the century.

“It’s very sparsely settled,” he says. “No industry, except for some of the oil and gas, so it’s never had transmission.”