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.
OK Policy is now accepting applications for the 2014 Summer Policy Institute! Over 50 college students from around the state will join us in early August for a three-day policy intensive, featuring speakers and panels across a wide array of topics. SPI offers participants a unique opportunity to become better informed about vital Oklahoma policy issues, network with fellow students and leaders, and prepare for their future studies and work in policy-related fields. The application deadline is May 30, 2014.
This week, we shared OK Policy Executive Director David Blatt’s prepared remarks from Monday’s public education rally at the Capitol. KGOU discussed OK Policy’s suggestion for funding education in part by reducing tax breaks on horizontal drilling. You can read our work on the horizontal drilling tax breaks here. Blatt’s comments were quoted in the Tulsa World, the Daily Admorite, and the Broken Arrow Ledger. The Woodward News featured OK Policy data on school funding in its write-up of the day. You can find our work on the topic here.
On the OK Policy Blog, Blatt debunked recent assertions that per-pupil spending is at an all-time high. A new fact sheet and blog post examined why a proposal to transform Medicaid in Oklahoma could reduce health care access and increase costs.
The University of Oklahoma’s Carl Albert Center will host Professor Nicholas Carnes of Duke University for the free public lecture “Who’s Keeping Working-Class Americans Out of Public Office?” on April 17. We discussed a new savings initiative that could help thousands of Oklahomans prepare a more secure retirement. In his Journal Record column, Blatt wondered if an income tax cut is inevitable despite being unpopular.
- 3rd - Oklahoma’s 2009 ranking for age-adjusted rate of death by diseases of the heart, after Mississippi and Alabama.
- -0.3 percent - The change in Oklahoma’s unemployment rate from February 2013 to February 2014, the 45th smallest decrease in the nation.
- 7,040,000 - The number of Americans enrolled in health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace by March 31. The total includes the number enrolled in the federal marketplace operating in 36 states, as well as the total known to have enrolled in state-run health insurance marketplaces in 14 states as of last weekend.
- 11.7 percent - Percentage of Hispanic immigrants who own their own businesses, compared to 10.0 percent for the US as a whole.
- $1,681 - Average homeowners’ insurance rate in Oklahoma in March 2014. Oklahoma average annual insurance rates are the highest in the nation.
- Claims of a skills shortage among American workers may be overblown, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
- MetroTrends discusses how community health workers should play a bigger role in making our health care system more efficient.
- The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shares 5 reasons why other state shouldn’t follow Kansas’ tax-cutting lead.
- An expansive survey of America’s public schools reveals large racial disparities in suspension rates and access to advanced courses and college counselors.
- The Center for American Progress suggests steps for increasing transparency in health care prices.