Senate Review by Senator Roland Pederson
Mike Seals - July 10, 2020 12:04 pm
Sen. Roland Pederson
First and foremost, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your support over the last few months. It’s been a true honor to serve District 19 over the past four years, and I’m looking forward to another four-year term. There will no doubt be many challenges come our way, but I know if we work together for the betterment of Oklahoma, we will prevail.
While it seems like most news over the past few months has been negative, I’d like to share a little positivity with you this week. Although COVID-19 has had a drastic impact on our state’s economy, the latest state treasurer’s report cites that our economy is showing signs of resiliency in some areas. Gross income tax collections in June were actually up 2.1 percent from June 2019, and motor vehicle taxes saw a 12 percent increase compared to the previous June.
Although some tax collection areas are seeing an increase, the gross production tax on oil and gas was down significantly—by nearly 79 percent compared to June 2019. A loss of GPT collections will have an immediate impact on the state’s economy and budget for fiscal year 2021. We are keeping a close eye on the monthly treasurer reports and what these revenues mean for next year’s budget.
I’d also like to remind you about the 2020 Census that is still ongoing. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we get our fair share of federal funding for important core services like our schools, health care facilities and roads.
If you’ve not returned your census form and only have a P.O. box mailing address on file, you should’ve received a post card alerting you that a census taker may drop off a census invitation to you soon or will visit later for an interview. The postcards also have instructions on how to respond to the questionnaire online or via phone.
Starting July 16, if you haven’t responded to the census, you may receive a visit from a census taker to facilitate your response to the questionnaire. All census offices will conclude this work by October 31. If you don’t want a knock on your door from a census taker, I recommend completing the census online at 2020census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020 as soon as possible.
As of May 6, Oklahoma ranked 42nd in the nation in response rate with a state average response of 56.3 percent, which is about five points lower than the national average of 61.9 percent. Across District 19, Alfalfa County’s response was 44.3 percent, Garfield’s was 62.2 percent, Grant’s was 47.5 percent, and Kay’s was 60.3 percent. Let’s all work together to make sure everyone counts this year. If we don’t, we won’t have another chance until 2030 when the next census is taken.
Finally, I’d like to remind you all to reach out to my office if you are struggling to receive your unemployment benefits. My executive assistant, Angie, has been very helpful working with constituents and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to facilitate the benefit payment process. If we can help you, please let us know.
Thank you again for the honor it is to be your state Senator. I’m excited to see what the next four years will have in store for our state. Please remember to reach out to my office if there is something I can do to assist you. You can contact me at 405-521-5630 or [email protected].