What’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
OK Policy announced three new board members this week! Kara Berst (Ada), Dr. Jason Kirksey (Stillwater), and Erica Lucas (Oklahoma City) have recently been appointed to the board. We also looked back on 2017 with a review of our ten most popular blog posts of the year.
Executive Director David Blatt shared that Oklahoma’s budget outlook is improving (but there are still challenges ahead for us this year), and that hunger is still a significant problem in Oklahoma. Blatt’s Journal Record columns pointed out the misplaced priorities of the federal government (the fate of DACA recipients and the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program are still in limbo) and shared the truth about Oklahoma schools (our per-pupil state aid funding has decreased more than any other state and administration is only 3% of our total school spending).
OK Policy in the News
Legislative Liason Bailey Perkins spoke with The Oklahoman about the political outlook for Oklahoma in 2018. Blatt also spoke with the The Oklahoman about the smaller than expected decline in enrollment for health insurance on the ACA exchange this season.
Join us for our 2018 State Budget Summit! On Thursday, January 25th, we’ll bring together all those with an interest in state policy issues for a day of thoughtful discussion and an exchange of ideas aimed at understanding the challenges we now face and charting a course for a more prosperous future. This week is your last chance to register at the special early-bird registration price of just $75. Early bird discounts will only be available through this Friday, January 12th. The cost as of January 13th is $90. Click here to register.
Weekly What’s That
The 1017 Fund, or Education Reform Revolving Fund, is a dedicated revenue fund that is appropriated to the State Department of Education. The fund initially consisted of personal and corporate income tax, sales tax, and use tax revenues attributable to the revenue provisions of HB 1017. In addition, a portion of cigarette and tobacco tax revenues and of tribal gaming and horse track gaming revenues are also now allocated to the 1017 Fund.
Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.
Quote of the Week
“We’re hopeful that this large chorus of voices will continue pushing in 2018 for a balanced mix of new permanent revenues so that our teachers will no longer need to cross the border to support their families and Oklahomans with disabilities and senior citizens won’t have to wonder what will happen to their life-sustaining services every few months.”
– OK Policy Legislative Liaison Bailey Perkins, predicting that the bipartisan push for new revenues will continue in 2018 (Source)
Editorial of the Week
Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World
Each year, the state of Oklahoma produces a book called the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. It is not a best-seller. Technically, it couldn’t be a best-seller because it isn’t for sale. It’s free on the Office of Management and Enterprise Services website. But, even at that price, it doesn’t have many takers. Which is a shame, because more Oklahomans should read the CAFR, as it is known, or attempt to. Its 200-plus pages delve deeply into the details of the state’s finances. Problem is, a person practically needs an advanced degree in management to fully understand it. It’s like something Faulkner or Joyce would have written had they been accountants. But most people can get the gist of it. The unifying plot line is that state government, even one the modest size of Oklahoma’s, is unimaginably large and bewilderingly complex.
Numbers of the Day
- 67% – Percentage of Oklahoma children aged 19 to 35 months who have received all recommended vaccinations, 2017
- 12.8% – Percentage of adults who reported binge or chronic drinking in Oklahoma, 2nd lowest in the US in 2017
- 961.628 – Number of children in Oklahoma in 2016, 25 percent of the state population
- $42,692 – Per capita income in Oklahoma in 2016
See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.
What We’re Reading
- Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression [Huffington Post]
- A Journey Through A Land of Extreme Poverty: Welcome to America[The Guardian]
- Most Americans do not support making cuts to programs for people with low incomes [Washington Post]
- The ‘forgotten’ part of special education that could lead to better outcomes for students [The Hechinger Report]