INCOME TAX CUTS
Okla. House approves plan for triggered tax cuts
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A plan to cut both Oklahoma's corporate and individual income tax rates has cleared the Oklahoma House over the objections of Democrats who contend the resulting loss of revenue will decimate critical state services like education, public safety and health care.
The House voted 57-34 Thursday for the bill that includes triggers for both cuts that would require certain revenue collections to grow by enough to offset the lost revenue to the state. Bartlesville Republican Rep. Earl Sears described it as a "modest income tax reduction."
The bill would cut the state's top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent. It was amended to add a corporate income tax cut.
The combined cuts are projected to cost the state more than $200 million annually.
Okla. House passes measure to expand CNG stations
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Legislation designed to help Oklahoma counties convert their vehicle fleets to compressed natural gas and increase CNG fuel stations across the state has been approved by the Oklahoma House.
The measure by Republican Representative Josh Cockroft of Tecumseh passed 71-17 on Thursday and was sent to the state Senate for consideration.
The bill authorizes the use gross production tax revenue to help counties convert their vehicles to compressed natural gas and develop CNG fuel stations that could be used by state and county governments and the general public.
Cockroft says the Oklahoma Department of Transportation saved about $32,690 a month after converting 174 vehicles to compressed natural gas. He says there are about 2,400 county vehicles in the state, not including law enforcement vehicles.
Treasurer: Okla. gross receipts on positive trend
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma's treasurer says state revenue collections continued to rise in February, the fourth anniversary of the low point reached following the latest recession.
Treasurer Ken Miller released his monthly report on gross receipts Thursday. It says collections have topped the same month of the prior year in 41 of the past 48 months. Miller says gross receipts have grown by almost 25 percent in the last four years.
Twelve-month gross receipts have expanded by $2.2 billion - or more than 23 percent - since exiting their trough in February 2009, eight months following the official end of the last national recession.
February's revenue report shows gross collections of $818 million, up more than $27 million, or 3.5 percent, from February 2013.
OSBI investigating officer-involved shooting death
OKMULGEE, Okla. (AP) - The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating after Okmulgee police officers were involved in a shooting that left one person dead.
The OSBI says the shooting occurred early Thursday. Authorities say a police officer attempted to stop an SUV for a traffic violation, but the driver took off and several other offices joined the pursuit.
When the car stopped, the driver got out of the SUV and was allegedly holding a weapon. OSBI says that's when police shot and killed the man.
The names of the officers involved have not been released. Also under investigation is how many officers fired their weapons.
US ATTORNEY-FRESH START
US attorney in Okla. announces 'fresh start' plan
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The local U.S. Attorney's Office has launched a federal prison re-entry program aimed at helping people with felony convictions reclaim their lives.
Dubbed "Fresh Start," the program will provide resources for jobs, housing and counseling services.
Tulsa-based U.S. Attorney Danny Williams Senior says the re-entry program is another component of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's "Smart on Crime" initiative.
Initial participants in the program will be GPS-monitored individuals from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and people on a parolee status. Later, the state's participation in the federally-sponsored program will expand to include those who are on probation.
The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, the U.S. Probation Office and the DOC are all participating in the program.
LEFLORE COUNTY-THREE DEAD
Okla. ME says 3 dead in fire unidentified
WHITESBORO, Okla. (AP) - A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office says the bodies of three people found dead after a house fire earlier this week remain unidentified.
Agency spokeswoman Amy Elliott said in an e-mail Thursday that their cases are still pending.
Authorities responded Monday to a house fire outside the small town of Whitesboro in southeastern Oklahoma and recovered the bodies, which were sent to the medical examiner's office for identification.
The sheriff's office says investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze.
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