OKLAHOMA CAPITOL BOXSCORE
Auto sales tax numbers released
The Oklahoma Tax Commission has collected more than $7 million from the state’s new automobile sales tax since it went into effect in July.
According to figures from the commission, Oklahoma vehicle buyers paid $2.9 million in July and another $4.2 million through Aug. 18. Historically, car and truck purchases were exempted from having to pay sales tax, but lawmakers this year rolled back part of the exemption to help raise revenue.
Over the first 12 months, Oklahoma is expected to collect between $111 million and $123 million in new revenue. Two court cases are pending, however, which could reverse the Legislature’s actions.
Lawmakers are waiting on the results of those cases before deciding how to proceed with a possible special session.
Opioid commission members set
Attorney General Mike Hunter has named members of his Commission on Opioid Abuse, which will begin meeting this week.
Members are State Sen. Kim David, businessman Bob Howard, pharmacist Cynthia Fain, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control Director John Scully, district attorney Kevin Buchanan, Oklahoma State Medical Association President Kevin Taubman, physician Layne Subera, state Rep. Tim Downing, and Terri White, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
A dentist will be named to the board later, Hunter said. The main areas of focus will be on prevention, intervention, education, treatment, law enforcement and rehabilitation. The goal of the commission is to release its findings and suggestions for potential legislation in the weeks leading up to the 2018 legislative session.
Agency hands out STEM grants
More than $270,000 in grants from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission will be doled out to 25 organizations that will use the money to teach science, technology, engineering and math.
The commission said school-age children will be taught more about STEM careers, primarily in the aerospace and aviation industries.
Aviation Program Manager Catherine Taber said the agency had to sort through grant requests totaling more than $640,000.