The 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 examined some ways to improve Oklahoma’s budget forecasting. OK Policy intern Rosie Nelson discussed the importance of the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program. OK Policy previously broke the story that Oklahoma lawmakers were attempting to divert funds from the scholarship to fill a budget hole.
We reported that the error rate for SNAP (food stamps) is at a record low – and explained why that isn’t entirely good news. On the second episode of our new weekly podcast, we discussed a variety of topics, including new research on how term limits affected the Oklahoma legislature, a lawsuit that could shake up tax politics in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City’s first community school, and more! You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.
In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt discussed the power and triumph of the #oklaed movement in defeating State Superintendent Janet Barresi in a recent primary election. Last week, Blatt guested on the Common Ground radio show, talking about Russia, air travel, a Biblical perspective on handgun safety, and more. In our Editorial of the Week, UCO Business Dean Mickey Hepner wrote in the Edmond Sun that Oklahoma’s cuts to the health care safety net could have been avoided by legislators.
OK Policy is pleased to invite you to attend as we present the 2014 Good Sense/Good Cents award to former Oklahoma Governor and US Senator Henry Bellmon, followed by a panel discussion of the Bellmon legacy. The presentation and panel will take place on Monday, August 4th, from 1:00 to 3:00pm at the Lorton Performance Center on the University of Tulsa campus. Refreshments will follow.
The award and panel are part of OK Policy’s annual Summer Policy Institute, a 4-day program that brings together 50 top students from across Oklahoma for an intensive immersion in state policy issues. We’ll be live-tweeting the program; you can follow it on Twitter with the hashtag #okspi.
Quote of the week
“We are now cutting personnel, cutting services and trying to see where there might be alternate sources of income, which is mostly donations. We are in a very difficult and untenable position.”
– Jim McCarthy, CEO of Community Health Connection, one of over a dozen community health centers in Oklahoma that provide services regardless of ability to pay in underserved areas. These health centers are under threat because the state’s uncompensated care fund ran dry last December and will not be replenished until January (Source: http://bit.ly/XhVzn6).
See previous Quotes of the Day here.
Numbers of the Day
- 10,050,000 – Bushels of soybeans produced by Oklahoma farmers in 2013.
- 50.2% – Percentage of Oklahomans with “minimal fruit consumption”; the national average is 37.7%.
- $38,639 – Debt held by the average Oklahoma household in 2013.
- 212 – Number of unaccompanied child migrants who have been placed with sponsor families in Oklahoma, less than 1 percent of the 30,340 child migrants who have been placed nationwide.
- 7 – Occupational fatalities per 100,000 workers in Oklahoma. The national average is 4.1.
See previous Numbers of the Day here.
What we’re reading