the_weekly_wonk_logoWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. 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 from OK Policy

On the OK Policy blog, Executive Director David Blatt reported that lawmakers were found guilty of supplanting lottery funds for schools for the first time and explained the lawmakers will now need to allocate an additional $10.1 million to the Education Lottery Trust Fund to replace the supplanted money. Blatt pointed out the dire consequences facing Oklahoma if the legislature chooses to close the state budget gap with draconian cuts instead of new revenues in his Journal Record column. Policy Analyst Carly Putnam argued that HB 1270 is unnecessary legislation that would punish poor families and add greatly to the cost of state administration in a blog post, and discussed how the new plan from the House GOP to replace the Affordable Care Act could affect Oklahomans’ health care in a new episode of the OK PolicyCast.

In a guest post, planning director for the Yale National Initiative at the University of Tulsa Elizabeth Smith suggested that it may be time to look at lawsuits as a way to address Oklahoma’s school funding crisis. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update argued at that the legislature’s timid approach to enacting teacher pay raises doesn’t bode well for schools.

OK Policy in the News

Blatt was interviewed by Public Radio Tulsa for a story about the strong hit President Trump’s proposed federal budget would have on Oklahoma. The Woodward News cited OK Policy data in an article discussing the revenue options that could close the state’s $878 million budget gap. OK Policy data on the cost of state tax credits for the wind industry compared to the oil and gas industry was cited in a Letter to the Editor of The Oklahoman.

Upcoming Opportunities

We are now accepting applications for our fifth annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI). SPI brings together dozens of undergraduate and graduate students from across the state for a three and a half-day intensive policy training. The application deadline is May 26, 2017. Click here to learn more and apply.

Weekly What’s That

State Board of Equalization

The Board is responsible for providing an official estimate of how much revenue will be available for the Oklahoma Legislature to budget for the coming year. The Board is also responsible for assessing taxable property values for entities such as public service companies, railroads, and airlines. Read more here.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“If I didn’t have subsidies I couldn’t have insurance. I am conscious of just how desperate this is, I try not to let myself feel this way, but to live this way with real terror, real fear that the universe is going to fall apart around me.”

-Anna Holloway, a 60-year-old Norman resident who receives tax subsidies to purchase health insurance and is afraid of losing them under a Republican health care overhaul (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Board, Tulsa World

The people of Oklahoma understood that when they approved SQ 780, and they chose the right path. Overturning the people’s decision is arrogant and undemocratic. If the authors of HB 1482 really believed that the people didn’t understand what they were doing, they would have sent the issue back to a vote of the people. Instead, they are moving to simply reject the voters’ choice and substitute their own regressive thinking. It’s a breach of faith with the public, and, quite simply, wrong.

Numbers of the Day

  • $15.05 – The gap between the minimum wage in Oklahoma ($7.25) and the hourly wage needed to support a family of four in Tulsa County ($22.30).
  • 33% – Percent of children in Oklahoma who have experienced two or more adverse childhood experiences, the highest in the US. The national average is 22% (2011-2012).
  • 154 – How many state troopers Oklahoma is currently below the minimum manning requirements.
  • 30% – Percent of nonelderly adults in Oklahoma reporting past-due medical debt in 2015, down from 38% in 2012.
  • $84.8 million – Estimated annual state and local taxes paid by undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading