This week, I want to touch on several topics. There’s a lot going on in our state and I want to make sure you’re up to date.
Last time, I talked about falling Oklahoma Gross Receipts, which are the funds from all the state’s revenue sources. We also recently learned that the state’s general revenue also fell short of the May estimate, which was expected with the pandemic and energy prices. General revenue is what supports the state’s more than 60 state agencies including education, public safety, transportation, health and more. General revenue came in at just over $490 million, which is nearly 15% below last May’s total.
Overall, this means general revenue receipts are now just under 9%, or a little over $552 million, below budget projections for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.
The primary elections are coming up on June 30. Given that we’re seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, you might consider voting by absentee ballot. I hope you will exercise your greatest freedom by participating in your democracy and letting your voice be heard.
The deadline to file for an absentee ballot is 5pm on Tuesday, June 23 and you can apply online through the OK Voter Portal at https://www.ok.gov/elections/OVP.html. You can have your ballot notarized by any notary or at various financial institutions, credit unions and banks that are listed on the state election board. Free notary services will be provided to everyone regardless of whether you’re a customer or not. For further information on upcoming elections, please contact your local election board or the state election board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of the virus, we are seeing a spike in cases since opening the economy. For the sake of Oklahoma families, we needed to get people back to work but we all must take personal responsibility to stop the spread of the virus further. Please continue social distancing, wearing a mask in public and washing your hands regularly. Also consider using curbside pickup or delivery for food, groceries and other essentials to avoid coming in contact with unknowing carriers. We can still support our local businesses by doing this or purchasing gift cards.
If you still haven’t received your unemployment benefits, please contact our office. We’re working directly with the agency to help get our constituents’ their funds. Also, local unemployment offices around the state are reopening and OESC is asking claimants to make appointments to speak with an unemployment representative in person. More information, including locations, is available at https://oklahomaworks.gov/about/oklahoma-works-centers/. Virtual appointments are also available.
Businesses are also dealing with some employees refusing to return to work. Please report this to email@example.com, by calling 405-962-7524, or mailing OESC at P.O. Box 52006, Oklahoma City, OK, 73152-2006.
If you’re looking for a job, please check Oklahoma’s job database at www.okjobmatch.com. There are thousands of jobs currently available and if you’re a business owner, you can post jobs for free as well.
If you haven’t done so already, please fill out your census form and be counted in Oklahoma’s official population. Less than 56% of Oklahomans have participated. An undercount of just 2% has been estimated to cost the state as much as $1.8 billion over the next decade in lost federal funding. Kay County is currently just over 60% while Osage County is less than 42%. You can participate by calling 1-844-330-2020, visiting www.2020Census.gov or filling out the paper form you received in the mail.
In closing, I received a perfect score from the Research Institute for Economic Development (REID) for my support of bills this session that support job creation, businesses and economic development. This nonpartisan, nonprofit tracks legislation that helps support the business community. Oklahoma businesses not only provide a variety of jobs for hardworking Oklahomans, but they also provide revenue for vital state services like education, public safety, transportation and mental health care services. They also support our nonprofit sector and so many other areas in our local economies. We must do all we can to support our Oklahoma businesses and attract more to our great state.
You can contact me by calling (405) 521-5581 or emailing Bill.Coleman@oksenate.gov.