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All articles by Gene Perry

New analysis: Low-income taxpayers in Oklahoma pay more than twice the tax rate paid by the richest Oklahomans

by | October 17th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, Taxes | Comments (0)

While Oklahoma has a reputation as a low tax state, poor and middle-income Oklahomans are actually paying a greater share of their income in taxes than the national average, while the richest 5 percent of households — with annual incomes of $194,500 or more — pay less.

That’s why Oklahoma ranks among the ten worst states for tax inequality in the newly updated Who Pays report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). The analysis evaluates major state and local taxes, including personal and corporate income taxes, property taxes, sales and other excise taxes. It finds that the poorest Oklahoma households pay 2.1 times as much of their incomes in taxes as the wealthiest 1 percent, and the middle 60 percent of households pay 1.7 times as much as the wealthiest. The poorest 20 percent of households pay the 5th highest taxes as a share of their incomes — 13.4 percent — in the country. You can read the full Who Pays report at www.whopays.org and see the fact sheet for Oklahoma here.

continue reading New analysis: Low-income taxpayers in Oklahoma pay more than twice the tax rate paid by the richest Oklahomans

OKPolicyCast 39: Bad Voter, Good Voter (with David Glover)

by | October 16th, 2018 | Posted in Elections, Podcast | Comments (0)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry and produced by Gene Perry and Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

In recent years, Oklahoma has seen some of the lowest voter turnout in the nation. Turnout was well below the nation in the 2012 and 2016 presidential races. In our last governor’s race in 2014, Oklahoma had the fewest votes cast for governor going back to 1978. But that wasn’t always true in Oklahoma. For decades before the 2010s, Oklahomans voted at rates near or above the national average.

Then in June elections this year, Oklahomans showed up at unprecedented levels for a primary race. Will that energy continue, or will it die back down now that marijuana is not longer on the ballot?

To get at some of these questions about what influences voter turnout, I spoke to David Glover, the founder of the website badvoter.org. At badvoter.org, you can look up all the information you need to get registered to vote, vote by mail, or find your polling place. And, as we’ll discuss, you can also look up the recent voting history of your friends and family to see who’s a good voter or a bad voter.

You can find more information about the upcoming Oklahoma elections, state questions, and how to vote at okpolicy.org/okvotes.

You can download the episode here, subscribe at the links above, or play it in your browser:

OKPolicyCast 38: All The State Questions (with David Blatt and Carly Putnam)

by | October 2nd, 2018 | Posted in Elections, Podcast | Comments (1)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry with production help from Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

On November 6, besides voting for a new governor and several other state offices, Oklahoma voters will decide five state questions on topics from optometry to school funding. To help you make informed choices on these state questions, OK Policy has already released fact sheets for each one with background information and a summary of arguments made by both supporters and opponents. To add to this resource, today I spoke with OK Policy’s Executive Director David Blatt and Policy Director Carly Putnam to discuss what each of the five state questions on the ballot mean and what people are saying about them. This conversation will be one of the easiest ways for you to quickly get up to speed before election day.

You can download the episode here, subscribe at the links above, or play it in your browser:

Oklahoma missing opportunities to give young adult parents and their kids a boost

by | September 25th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, Children and Families, Financial Security | Comments (0)

The first years of adulthood are a crucial time in anyone’s life. Many Oklahomans ages 18 to 24 are taking their first steps toward independence, whether they’re in college or just entering the workforce. These are also key years for brain development and learning critical decision-making skills. When these young people are also new parents of young children, these two most sensitive stages in development coincide. By targeting investment and support to families at this stage of their lives, we have an opportunity to strengthen multiple generations of Oklahomans.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma’s 62,000 young adult parents face hurdles to support their children and fulfill their own potential, according to Opening Doors for Young Parents, the latest KIDS COUNT® policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The fifty-state report reveals that, at 18 percent, Oklahoma is well above the national average (10 percent) of residents age 18 to 24 who are also parents. These families have limited access to opportunities to advance their education and find family-sustaining jobs.

continue reading Oklahoma missing opportunities to give young adult parents and their kids a boost

OKPolicyCast 37: Together Oklahoma (with Sabine Brown)

by | September 18th, 2018 | Posted in Podcast | Comments (0)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry with production help from Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

Sabine Brown

In this episode, I spoke with Sabine Brown, who is the outreach and advocacy coordinator for Oklahoma Policy Institute. Through that work, Sabine heads up Together Oklahoma, a grassroots coalition with chapters across the state of people joining with their neighbors to advocate for better public policy. We talked about how Sabine got into this work, and how many others have become members and leaders of Together Oklahoma without having a lot of prior experience working on state policy or advocacy. It’s a very useful conversation for anyone who may be a frequent follower of OK Policy’s information but now wants to know what you can do with it.

You can download the episode here, subscribe at the links above, or play it in your browser:

In The Know: Early voting begins; celebrating 10 years of OK Policy; surge in Oklahomans seeking psychiatric crisis care…

by | August 23rd, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Early voting for Tuesday’s runoff elections begins: Early voting begins Thursday in the run-off election that will help determine several party’s candidates for state and federal offices. You can start early voting at 8 a.m., but, in most counties, you can only vote at your county election board. Sometimes there’s a second site – in Tulsa County, you can vote at the downtown Election Board or at Hardesty Library near the Creek and Memorial. There are several state races for Oklahomans to decide. [NewsOn6] Advocacy 101 Video: Runoff Primaries in Oklahoma [Together Oklahoma]. Oklahoma 2018 State Questions and Elections [OKPolicy].

Celebrate, support OK Policy with New Yorker humorist: The past decade of Oklahoma politics has featured a lot of changes, but one thing lawmakers, media and voters have more of than ever before is access to quality, nonpartisan data. Thanks largely to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, this state has had an incubator for responsible public policy since 2008. Now, executive director David Blatt, the OK Policy board and its passionate base of supporters want you to consider making a $100 donation — $10 for each year of existence, perhaps? — to ensure Oklahomans keep receiving responsible information about public policy decisions for the next decade. In making that donation, you will receive a ticket to OK Policy’s 10th anniversary gala dinner. [NonDoc] The deadline to buy tickets for the September 13 dinner is September 7 [OK Policy].

‘People seem sicker now’: The number of Oklahomans seeking psychiatric crisis care has surged: In an era of budget cuts to state agencies, the number of Oklahomans in need of psychiatric crisis care services has surged and mental health providers say people are sicker than previous years. From fiscal years 2015 to 2018, the number of Oklahomans who are need of crisis care centers across the state increased by 21 percent — from 8,049 people to 9,735, according to data provided by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. [The Frontier]

continue reading In The Know: Early voting begins; celebrating 10 years of OK Policy; surge in Oklahomans seeking psychiatric crisis care…

OKPolicyCast 36: Back to School (with Rob Miller)

by | August 21st, 2018 | Posted in Education, Podcast | Comments (1)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry with production help from Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

This month many kids and teachers are heading back to school in Oklahoma. Also this month, an increase in Oklahoma’s teacher pay scale is going into effect for the first time in a decade. It was a hard won raise for teachers, and it came only after massive advocacy efforts culminating in a teacher walkout and rally at the state capitol near the end of the last school year. But even this much-needed raise won’t be enough to make up for years of cuts to education in Oklahoma, and the symptoms of these cuts are still visible in rising class sizes, missing programs, and reduced support staff.

continue reading OKPolicyCast 36: Back to School (with Rob Miller)

OKPolicyCast 35: A frank conversation about criminal justice (with D’Marria Monday, Jill Webb, Erik Grayless, and Kris Steele)

by | August 7th, 2018 | Posted in Criminal Justice, Podcast | Comments (0)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry with production help from Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

Last week, Oklahoma Policy Institute hosted our annual Summer Policy Institute for about 60 college students from all over Oklahoma. The 4-day event featured speakers and panels on a wide range of topics. For this episode of the OKPolicyCast, we’re sharing the live recording of one of those panels — an interesting, frank, contentious discussion of Oklahoma’s criminal justice system.

If after listening to this you’d like to hear more from panelist Jill Webb, check out Episode 25 of the OKPolicyCast, which features an interview with her.

You can download the episode here, subscribe at the links above, or play it in your browser:

Episode 34: No job? No doctor. (with Carly Putnam & Hannah Katch)

by | July 24th, 2018 | Posted in Healthcare, Podcast | Comments (0)

The OK PolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry with production help from Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OK PolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

This year, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and the state Legislature ordered the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which runs Medicaid in Oklahoma, to come up with a plan to require Oklahoma adults on Medicaid to work at least 20 hours each week. If they don’t meet this requirement, or if they don’t do the paperwork to report their work or get an exemption in time, they will lose their Medicaid coverage and become uninsured.

OK Policy’s Carly Putnam has been doing a lot of work on this issue, and for this episode, I spoke with Carly and Hannah Katch of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who’s been looking at this from a national perspective since the idea has been pushed in multiple states.

Right now public comments are being submitted about Oklahoma’s plan, and after the interview we read several of the comments that have been sent in so far. These do a great job of showing how real people’s lives would be affected if this is implemented. The comments are illuminating, and often heartbreaking.

After listening, you can learn more and take action by going to https://okpolicy.org/stop-attacks-soonercare/.

You can download the episode here, subscribe at the links above, or play it in your browser:

OK Policy welcomes three new staffers

by | July 19th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (1)

We’re welcoming three new staff members to the OK Policy team!

Rebecca Fine

Starting this week, Rebecca Fine has joined Oklahoma Policy Institute as an education policy analyst. The position is new to the organization and will focus on research and analysis of policies affecting all levels of education, from early childhood to K-12 and higher education.

“Even before bringing on a full-time education analyst, OK Policy has been an important voice on education policies,” said Gene Perry, OK Policy’s Director of Strategy and Communications. “We’re excited for this opportunity to deepen our work on this crucial issue for Oklahoma. Rebecca’s work on education issues from early childhood through college will also help to establish OK Policy’s new role as the Oklahoma partner in the national KIDS COUNT network.”

continue reading OK Policy welcomes three new staffers

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