Upcoming Event: The Legacy of Gov. Henry Bellmon

BellmonHLOklahoma Policy Institute will honor Governor Henry Bellmon with the 2014 Good Sense/Good Cents Award, followed by a panel discussion on the Bellmon legacy, on Monday August 4th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm at the Lorton Performance Center on the University of Tulsa Campus. The events are free and open to the public.

The Good Sense/Good Cents award will be presented to Gov. Bellmon’s daughters Ann Denney and Pat Hoerth by Tulsa Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr., whose father, Dewey F. Bartlett Sr., succeeded Henry Bellmon as Governor and served concurrently with him in the United States Senate. The  annual award honors political leaders whose political service is distinguished by a commitment to respectful political dialogue, sound fiscal stewardship, and concern for the less fortunate. The inaugural recipients of the award in 2013 were Mayors Robert LaFortune of Tulsa and Melvin Moran of Seminole.

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Banker, education leader join OK Policy Board

by | June 5th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

Oklahoma Policy Institute is pleased to announce that NBC Oklahoma Chairman Ken Fergeson and Edmond Public School Superintendent David Goin have joined the organization’s Board of Directors.

“We are delighted to be adding two outstanding individuals, Ken Fergeson and David Goin, who have made great contributions to the state through their professional careers and community service,” said Vince LoVoi, OK Policy’s Board Chair. “David and Ken will add to our tradition of building a strong board that reflects the political, geographic, and professional diversity of our state.”

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Attention, college students: OK Policy summer internship and Summer Policy Institute

by | April 21st, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

Logo-SquareCalling all college students! This summer, we are pleased to offer two exciting opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students interested in Oklahoma public policy. We are accepting applications for our summer internship, as well as for our Summer Policy Institute, a three-day intensive workshop featuring speakers and panels on a wide range of state policy issues.

Summer Internship

OK Policy is looking for students for a paid part-time or full-time internship during the summer of 2014. Interns will be expected to work between 15 and 40 hours per week, depending on their schedules and availability. The position will be based primarily in our Tulsa office, with occasional opportunities to work from home or school.

continue reading Attention, college students: OK Policy summer internship and Summer Policy Institute

Calling all college students! Apply for the 2014 Summer Policy Institute (SPI)

by | April 4th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

Oklahoma Policy Institute is excited to announce our second annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI) from August 3-6, 2014.

The SPI brings together over 50 highly-qualified undergraduate and graduate students for an exciting and in-depth learning experience. SPI will offer participants a unique opportunity to become better informed about vital Oklahoma policy issues, network with fellow students and leaders in the policy process, and prepare for their future studies and work in public policy-related fields.

The Institute is hosted and led by the staff of OK Policy and involves leading policy experts from government, academia and community organizations throughout Oklahoma. Keynote presentations and panel discussions will provide a chance to hear from Oklahoma’s top practitioners and observers on:

    • Budget and Taxes
    • Campaigns and Elections
    • Reporting on State Government
    • Healthcare
    • Poverty & Opportunity
    • Criminal Justice
    • Race & Gender
    • Energy & Environment
    • Careers in Public Policy
    • Common & Higher Education

For more information about the Summer Policy Institute, go to http://okpolicy.org/summer-policy-institute. The application deadline is May 30th, 2014.

Click here to apply for the 2014 Summer Policy Institute (SPI)

Please share this announcement with any students, classmates, or other interested parties.

Weekly Wonk March 23, 2014

by | March 23rd, 2014 | Posted in OK Policy | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week OK Policy released the results of a new poll that shows support for cutting Oklahoma’s personal income tax has dropped significantly among voters, and less than half now support a plan to reduce the state’s top tax rate.  The poll was covered on Public Radio Tulsa and discussed by The Norman Transcript.

The OK Policy Blog shared three trends to watch from Oklahoma’s Annual Report — Oklahoma’s reliance on federal funds has dropped significantly since 2011, the size of state government continues to shrink, and education spending is down $50 million since 2012 and $610 million from 2009.  

Ryan Gentzler wrote a guest post about efforts by lawmakers to stop the development of wind energy in Eastern Oklahoma.  We shared a graph showing that taxation does not deter drilling for oil and natural gas – in fact the biggest growth in horizontal drilling occurred in the state with the highest effective tax rate.  

David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed how lawmakers’ proposal to move new state employees to a 401(k) style retirement plan could endanger existing pensions and increase the state’s unfunded liabilities.

continue reading Weekly Wonk March 23, 2014

Introducing our new bill tracking tool

by | February 11th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Capitol Matters, OK Policy | Comments (0)

capitol

Today we launched a new resource designed to help you keep an eye on what’s happening with specific bills in the Legislature. The Oklahoma Legislation Tracker identifies key pieces of legislation in several categories. 

With each bill, we have provided a description of the proposed law and why it matters. You’ll also find the latest actions, co-sponsors, and links to additional resources and news updates. We will add bills to the tracker as the session continues, as well as continue to update news and resources about important bills.

The bill tracker is powered by software originally developed by MinnPost, a non-profit online newspaper in Minnesota. We customized it for OK Policy using the open source code available here. The bill information comes from the Oklahoma Legislature via the Open States API by the Sunlight Foundation. It uses icons from The Noun Project.

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Weekly Wonk January 26, 2014

by | January 26th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week, we discussed misconceptions about prescription drug abuse in Oklahoma, which has overtaken car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death.  OK Policy legislative liaison Damario Solomon-Simmons explored how the legacy of Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher lives on today,  sixty-six years after she integrated the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

David Blatt’s Journal Record column revealed that 25 years after Oklahoma committed to “never be last again” in education, we’ve fallen back to near last.  The OK Policy Blog posted an upcoming lecture on ‘dual status’ youth, or youth who have contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, sponsored by OKDHS.  

Research fellow Breanca Thomas blogged about the most effective strategies for tackling diabetes, one of Oklahoma’s most serious health epidemics.  Our work was cited in an Oklahoma Watch article on the state’s ongoing debate over oil and gas subsidies.  Excerpts from our statewide budget summit were included in a Public Radio Tulsa piece.

continue reading Weekly Wonk January 26, 2014

Weekly Wonk January 19, 2014

by | January 19th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

The Tulsa World reported that Oklahoma’s revenue crunch colored discussion at our our statewide budget summit on Thursday. Public Radio Tulsa said that the summit gave the state budget a bleak outlook, while the Associated Press noted that Governor Fallin and House Speaker T.W. Shannon disagree on state budget ideas. Capital City OK discussed five takeaways from the summit. Presentations featured at the summit are available here.

On our blog, OK Policy Executive Director David Blatt argued that a recent study from the State Chamber of Oklahoma fails to adequately justify maintaining oil and gas tax breaks. Policy Director Gene Perry suggested that Oklahoma’s gas tax system needs reform. In a guest post, OK Policy Research Fellow Bailey Perkins made the case for better funding Oklahoma’s education system. We published a graph showing that staff levels in Oklahoma correctional institutions are way down, while inmate populations have continued to rise. 

In an editorial published by Oklahoma Watch, Perry argued for continuing commitment to the ‘War on Poverty,’ and in his Journal Record column, Blatt wrote that  it has improved conditions for low-wage workers and their families. Capital City OK referenced Blatt’s discussion of oil and gas tax breaks, and Blatt was quoted in a NewsOK article, as well as in NewsOK’s online Q&A on the topic. 

continue reading Weekly Wonk January 19, 2014

Weekly Wonk January 12, 2014

by | January 12th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

While tickets to our state budget summit on Thursday, January 16 have sold out, limited spaces are still open for that afternoon’s Advocacy Training session! Together Oklahoma will share its top three priorities for the coming session and participants will engage in a hands-on workshop focused on mobilizing for fair and adequate funding of public services. Cost for the Advocacy Training is $10. You can click here to reserve your place. 

On the OK Policy Blog, Executive Director David Blatt discussed how forecasted revenue shortfalls will lead to difficult choices. He also noted that horizontal drilling tax breaks have now topped $300 million. Blatt was quoted on the topic in the Tulsa World and StateImpact. We’ve made the case for curbing those tax breaks before. We argued that claims that the Affordable Care Act is killing jobs are over-hyped and ignore that the law is good for business.  A guest post in our Neglected Oklahoma series examined the plight of fast-food workers. Other posts in the series can be found here.

In Oklahoma Watch, Policy Director Gene Perry argued that we must stay committed to the War on Poverty. Blatt wrote in his Journal Record column that there seem to be only two kinds of years at the Oklahoma Capitol — budget shortfall years and tax cut years – and that neither likely involves a needed discussion of funding vital public services. 

Numbers of the Day

  • 10,833 - The number of foreclosures completed in Oklahoma in the last twelve months, up 18.6% from 9,132 foreclosures during the same period last year
  • 22.6 percent - The poverty rate in Southeast Oklahoma, where President Obama is creating a “Promise Zone” in partnership with the Choctaw Nation to focus resources on improving life in chronically poor areas
  • $170 million - How much less is expected to be available for state appropriations in FY 2015 compared to FY 2014
  • 2,350 - Decrease in the number of jobs in Oklahoma over the past 12 months
  • 6th - Oklahoma’s rank nationally for wheat exports; the state grew and exported over 400 million dollars worth of wheat in 2012
 
Policy Notes 
 
  • Moyers & Company has compiled Inequality: An Essential Reader.
  • Examining the impact of food snap benefits on the health of recipients, The Incidental Economist notes that health policy isn’t always about healthcare.
  • The Center for  American Progress has a report examining fifty years of the War on Poverty.
  • Theda Skocpol finds that the Affordable Care Act is working well where state-level officials are pitching in to help – and lagging where they are engaged in obstruction.
  • The Economic Policy Institute discusses the impact of 4.5 million workers receiving higher pay this year due to rising minimum wages in thirteen states.

Weekly Wonk January 5, 2014

by | January 5th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

Registration is still open for our first State Budget Summit Thursday, January 16th at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City! With the theme of “Navigating the Perilous Fiscal Waters,” the summit will offer important perspectives on budget and tax issues. You can click here to register for the event.

On the OK Policy Blog, Executive Director David Blatt compared how the state governments of Oklahoma and Kentucky are taking very different approaches to the Affordable Care Act. He previously discussed the topic in a Journal Record column. Legislative Liaison Damario Solomon-Simmons wrote that Bowl Championship Series schools are failing their Black male athletes.  A guest post examined the importance of updated ordinances related to urban agriculture in Oklahoma City. We counted down our top ten most popular blog posts of 2013. 

In his Journal Record columns, Blatt shared the story of an Oklahoma family who were able to purchase affordable, comprehensive health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. He also suggested that the “feel-good story” of a Tulsa high school teacher volunteering her time to teach at 7am at after budget cuts eliminated a class is emblematic of the ongoing failure of the Oklahoma Legislature to properly  fund public education. 

Numbers of the Day

  • 19,400 - Number of Oklahomans who will be cut off from unemployment benefits by June 2014 if Congress does not extend the Emergency Unemployment program
  • 11,418 - Number of children in Oklahoma who were victims of child abuse or neglect during fiscal year 2013, nearly 58 percent increase since 2010
  • 20.2 percent - The share of total state expenditures for undergraduate student aid in Oklahoma that is based only on financial need, 8th lowest among the states in 2012
 
Policy Notes