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Start here to be ready for Oklahoma’s 2017 legislative session

by | February 6th, 2017 | Posted in Budget, OK Policy | Comments (1)

Today is the first day of the 2017 legislative session. Governor Mary Fallin will kick things off with her State of the State address in the House chambers beginning at noon. You can follow her speech online here. Governor Fallin will also introduce her FY 2018 budget, which will include her proposals for filling the state’s $740 million budget hole.

Look for OK Policy’s response to the Governor’s budget later today, and later this week, we’ll share our 2017 legislative priorities and revenue options for balancing the budget. Here are even more resources that we think will be helpful for anyone who wants to be well-informed and effectively engaged over the four months of the legislative session:

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Five reasons NOT to donate to OK Policy

by | December 27th, 2016 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

At this time of year, lots of terrific organizations are offering you compelling reasons to donate to them. We have developed a contrarian tradition of trying to convince you why you should NOT  donate to OK Policy.  Here are five reasons why you might decide that a donation to OK Policy is a bad idea.

1. Facts don’t matter

Facts, schmacts – who needs ’em?? If you believe that public policy debates and decisions should be guided by party affiliation, ideological beliefs, and ill-informed opinion, please do NOT donate to OK Policy. Because our role is to provide independent, data-driven information, analysis, and ideas on the major policy issues facing Oklahoma. Our legislative primer, county facts,  and budget highlights all provide the facts you’ll want to avoid

2. You really needed that tax cut

Last year, in the midst of two revenue failures and a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, our legislators allowed a quarter-point cut in the top income tax rate to take effect. The tax cut provided less than $4 a month to the average Oklahoma family, while ensuring deeper cuts for public schools, colleges and universities, health care services, and other building blocks of a prosperous state. We know most Oklahomans agreed with us that the tax cut should’ve been cancelled or deferred. But if that tax cut was your idea of good public policy, then you likely should not donate to help OK Policy fight for better fiscal decisions (you can use our online calculator to see how much the tax cut was worth to you).

3. You shouldn’t know how the state budget is spent

OK Policy works to explain the appropriations process, show where state revenues come from and how they are spent, and track budget trends over time, guided by the belief that an informed citizenry is vital to a healthy, functioning democracy. With an ever-shrinking Capitol press corps, many people count on OK Policy to shine a light on what’s happening behind the curtains. But if you prefer to remain in the dark, then making a tax-deductible contribution to OK Policy is most certainly a bad idea.

4. Oklahoma invests too much in education and other core services

Since 2008, Oklahoma has slashed state support for public schools by among the most in the nation and we are falling ever further behind in paying our hard-working teachers and state employees fair and competitive wages. Meanwhile, severe understaffing of our prisons puts the safety of corrections officers at risk and thousands of those with developmental disabilities and mental illness languish on waiting lists. Now we are facing another year of gaping budget shortfalls. Some say we will just need to cut deeper and not look at options that would put more revenue on the table. If you agree, you should not donate to OK Policy.

5. 49th is OK, 50th is Better

In Oklahoma, one in six of us, and one in four children, live in households that earn too little to stay above the poverty line. On a whole range of health and social indicators, Oklahoma ranks among the states with the worst outcomes, leading some to suggest that our state motto should be “Thank God for Mississippi.” One of OK Policy’s core convictions is that we need purposeful strategies aimed at expanding opportunities for all Oklahomans. We put forward thoughtful, practical policy proposals that will lead to a more prosperous, healthier state (you cam see our Agenda for Better Jobs and Opportunities here). But if you think we just need to work harder to outdo Mississippi in the race to the bottom, donating to OK Policy is probably not a good idea.

Kidding aside, we sincerely hope you will make a tax-deductible one-time or recurring year-end donation to OK Policy to help ensure that our work continues to have an impact in 2017. We greatly appreciate your support, and we wish you all the best during this holiday season.

PS: The best way to stay uninformed about the budget crisis facing Oklahoma is to not attend our State Budget Summit on Thursday, January 26th in Oklahoma City. And if you do decide to attend, please wait until after January 5th to buy your tickets so as not to be eligible for our special early-bird registration price of $75!

Join us for the 2017 State Budget Summit

by | December 13th, 2016 | Posted in Budget, OK Policy, Upcoming Events | Comments (0)

As Oklahoma’s 2017 legislative session approaches, the combination of continued budget shortfalls at the state level and a new national Administration and Congress committed to far-reaching changes to critical programs have created an unprecedented level of uncertainty and apprehension. OK Policy’s 4th Annual State Budget Summit, which will be held on Thursday, January 26th in Oklahoma City, will bring together all those with an interest in state policy issues for a day of thoughtful discussion and exchange of ideas aimed at understanding the challenges we now face and charting a course for a more prosperous future.

The special early-bird registration price of just $75 is available through January 5th. Click here to register. The cost as of January 6th is $90.

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We’re hiring! Now taking applications for policy analyst and research interns

by | December 9th, 2016 | Posted in OK Policy | Comments (0)

OK Policy analyst Devon Douglass is leaving to become Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Tulsa under new mayor G.T. Bynum. It’s a loss for OK Policy but a great opportunity for Devon and Tulsa, and we look forward to working with her in her new position.

That also means we are looking to hire a new policy analyst to produce research and organize campaigns around economic security for low- and moderate-income Oklahomans. Skills designing reports and infographics are also highly desired for this position. You can read more about the job duties and qualifications here.

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Registration now open for Fall Policy Boot Camps in Tulsa and Edmond

by | August 25th, 2016 | Posted in OK Policy | Comments (0)

P1020339Do you want to learn more about the state budget, criminal justice reform, poverty, and other critical policy issues affecting our state? If so, you’re in luck: registration is now open for OK Policy’s second Fall Policy Boot Camp (FallPol). This year, we will host two FallPols — one at OSU-Tulsa on Friday, October 14th and one at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond on Saturday, October 15th.

FallPol is an intensive, one-day policy training intended primarily for emerging professionals working for non-profits, advocacy groups, government, and businesses, as well as educators, parents, civic volunteers, and other rising leaders with an interest in Oklahoma issues but without in-depth familiarity with the state’s policy landscape. Advocates and professionals with expertise in one policy area who wish to be better informed across a broader canvas of issues will find this training especially useful.

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Bailey Perkins joins OK Policy as new Outreach & Legislative Liaison

by | August 17th, 2016 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

BaileyPerkins2016Oklahoma Policy Institute is excited to announce that Bailey Perkins is joining the staff as Outreach & Legislative Liaison. The full-time position will be based in Oklahoma City.

Perkins will be assuming primary responsibilities for representing OK Policy at the State Capitol during the legislative session, as well as working closely with advocacy groups and coalitions in the Oklahoma City area to help advance OK Policy’s agenda for broad-based prosperity.  The role of legislative liaison had been carried out for the past three sessions on a part-time contract basis by Damario Solomon Simmons.

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Join our team as a fall intern

by | August 15th, 2016 | Posted in OK Policy | Comments (0)
OK Policy staff and summer interns

OK Policy staff and summer interns

OK Policy is now accepting student applicants for paid part-time internships during the fall of 2016. Interns will be expected to work between 10 and 20 hours per week, depending on their schedules and availability. The position will be based in our Tulsa office.

Interns have the opportunity to work as full members of the OK Policy team and participate in most activities of the organization. The work will involve assisting staff members as well as conducting independent research under guidance of staff. Most interns will author multiple blog posts on state policy issues such as poverty, economic development, health care, immigration, and other subjects.

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Upcoming Event: Sleeping Giant author on how the ‘new working class’ is transforming America

by | August 11th, 2016 | Posted in Blog, Economy, OK Policy, Upcoming Events | Comments (0)

sleeping giant2There was a time when America’s working class was seen as the backbone of the economy with considerable political, economic, and moral authority. In recent decades, the working class has transformed as far more female and racially diverse workers have been employed by the restaurant, retail, health care, and other service industries. At the same time, this new working class has been marginalized, if not ignored, by politicians and pundits.

As Tamara Draut makes clear in an important and timely new book, Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America, this is changing, swiftly and dramatically. As the November election draws near, Tamara Draut will be visiting Oklahoma to discuss her book at a pair of public events in Tulsa and Oklahoma City:

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Send in your summer internship application by April 29

by | April 15th, 2016 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

OK Policy and internsWe are pleased to offer two exciting opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students interested in Oklahoma public policy.

We are now accepting student applicants for a paid, part-time or full-time internship during the summer of 2016. Interns will be expected to work between 15 and 40 hours per week, depending on their schedules and availability. The position will be based in our Tulsa office, with occasional opportunities to work from home or school.

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ATTN College Students: Apply for the 2016 Summer Policy Institute

by | March 10th, 2016 | Posted in OK Policy | Comments (5)

Summer Policy Institute studentsOklahoma Policy Institute is excited to announce our fourth annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI) from July 31 – August 3, 2016 at the University of Tulsa.

SPI brings together highly-qualified undergraduate and graduate students for an exciting and in-depth learning experience. SPI offers 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.

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