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 on the OK Policy Blog, a post in our Neglected Oklahoma series described hunger in Oklahoma. We followed up on the situation of the unaccompanied children from Central America who had been housed at Fort Sill and the labyrinthine removal proceedings they are encountering. We’ve written about the children before.
We explained that Oklahoma legislators selected which public employees will receive raises this year with little input from the agencies involved, creating a disjointed system wherein some workers receiving raises and some who won’t occupy very similar positions.
At the community forum “Resegregation of Tulsa Schools” hosted by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, Executive Director David Blatt spoke about how schools are still segregated by race and income. The Tulsa World wrote about the forum here. On this week’s PolicyCast, we discussed important headlines and announced an upcoming event series aimed at boosting citizen enrollment in Oklahoma. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.
In his Journal Record column, Blatt explained how, contrary to popular prediction, the Affordable Care Act is working. Blatt was quoted in an MSNBC article on the increasing practice of levying court fines and fees to fund municipal budgets, and of imposing jail time if offenders are unable to pay.
Quote of the week:
“Gov. Mary Fallin rejected Medicaid expansion funding under the Affordable Care Act in 2012. When she made that announcement, she cited fiscal reasons — the state couldn’t afford the potential costs. But two years later, we have to wonder how much longer the state can afford not to accept the money.”
- The Tulsa World’s Editorial Board, pointing out that as a result of Fallin’s decision to reject federal funds, the state will turn away $900 million in Medicaid funding in 2016 and $8.6 billion from 2013 to 2022. (Source:http://bit.ly/1urmQA1)
Numbers of the day:
- 76% – Households in Oklahoma that were smoke free in 2010-2011, up from 39 percent in 1991-1992.
- $17,274.47 – Average cost of attendance for an Oklahoma resident, on campus, full-time student at the state’s research universities, FY 2015.
- $23,330 – Average mortgage debt in Oklahoma in 2013.
46th – Oklahoma’s ranking for the well-being of girls in the state according to Girl Scouts of America. Factors considered included physical health and safety, economic well-being, education, emotional health and extracurricular activities.
$115,969 – Median home price in Oklahoma in 2013.
What we’re reading:
- The New York Times explained what’s behind sharply reduced estimates for the cost of Medicare, which will save the federal government more than the total cost of unemployment insurance, welfare and Amtrak combined.
- The Moneybox blog discusses how a series of fast food walkouts around the country have been successful at spearheading a broader living wage movement.
- Fivethirtyeight.com examined state variation in a new report on food insecurity across the country.
- CNN reports on how the campaign for paid sick leave for all workers is picking up steam in cities and states throughout the country. Oklahoma is one of a few states that have banned local governments from requiring paid sick leave.
- The Economic Policy Institute assesses the impact of wage theft.