2017 State Budget Summit

2017 State Budget Summit


As Oklahoma’s 2017 legislative session approaches, the combination of continued budget shortfalls at the state level and a new national Administration and Congress committed to far-reaching changes to critical programs have created an unprecedented level of uncertainty and concern.

On January 26, OK Policy’s 4th Annual State Budget Summit brought together all those with an interest in state policy issues for a day of thoughtful discussion and exchange of ideas. The goal of the State Budget Summit is both to understand the challenges we now face and to chart a course for a more prosperous future.

The event included an overview budget presentation by Executive Director David Blatt; sessions with leading experts and policymakers on the national landscape and state outlook; and a closing session aimed at helping advocates turn the ideas we have heard into action during the upcoming session. Our keynote speaker, Paul Pierson, political science professor at University of California at Berkeley, will put our current political context into an historical perspective that shows how and why Americans have lost their understanding of the critical role that government has played as a partner in shared prosperity. 

Presentation Slides


8:15 – 9:00: Registration and Light Breakfast

9:00 – 9:10:  Welcome and Introductions: Ann-Clore Duncan, Board Chair, Oklahoma Policy Institute

9:10 – 10:00: Overview Presentation: “Oklahoma’s Budget: From Shortfall to Prosperity” – David Blatt, Executive Director, Oklahoma Policy Institute

Years of repeated budget cuts have forced deep cuts in the public investments that are critical for Oklahoma’s prosperity. In the introductory session, Blatt will highlight the main features of Oklahoma’s tax and budget system and lay out a path toward fiscal recovery that will allow Oklahoma to address its short-term and long-term challenges.

10:00 – 10:15: Break

10:15 – 11:30: Speaker and Discussion:What Lies Ahead for Poor and Working-Class Oklahomans?” – The new Congress and Administration are likely to move forward quickly with plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to fundamentally transform Medicaid, SNAP (formerly food stamps) and other programs that help Americans with low and modest incomes. At the  same time, Oklahoma’s budget woes are putting extreme pressure on health care and human service budgets.  This session will begin with a discussion of the landscape from OK Policy’s health and food security analyst, Carly Putnam, and be followed by a panel discussion involving legislators, agency directors, and community leaders of what the national and state landscapes may mean for poor and working-class Oklahomans.

Panelists and Moderator: Sen. Rob Standridge, Chair, Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; Ed Lake, Director, Oklahoma Department of Human Services; Craig Jones, President, Oklahoma Hospital Association; Katie Fitzgerald, CEO, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma; Moderator: Linda Edmondson, OK Policy Board member

11:30 – 12:00: Lunch

Paul Pierson

12:00 – 1:00: Keynote Talk: Paul Pierson, John Gross Professor of Political Science, University of California at Berkeley and co-author of American Amnesia: How the War on Government Made us Forget What Made America Prosper 

In the 20th Century, the United States, like other healthy democracies developed a mixed economy that channeled the spirit of capitalism into strong growth and healthy social development. The mixed economy allowed for steep increases in education, health, longevity, and economic security, and previously unimaginable level of broad prosperity. And yet today’s anti-government activists are hell-bent on scrapping the instrument of nearly a century of unprecedented economic and social progress. In American Amnesia, Pierson and his colleague Jacob Hacker explain how those hostile to the mixed economy gained power —and why they must be stopped. Pierson’s historically-grounded analysis and call to action has gained particular urgency in our new political landscape.

American Amnesia is Pierson’s third collaboration with Jacob Hacker. Their two earlier works were Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (2010) and Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy (2005). Pierson is also the author of Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis (2011) and Dismantling the Welfare State? Reagan, Thatcher, and the Politics of Retrenchment (1994) which won the American Political Science Association’s 1995 prize for the best book on American national politics. Pierson is an active commentator on public affairs, whose writings have recently appeared in such outlets as The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The New Republic.  He graduated with a B.A. in government from Oberlin College in 1981 and then attended graduate school at Yale University, completing an M.A. and M.Phil in 1986 and a PhD degree in political science in 1989.

1:10 – 2:40: Panel Discussion:Oklahoma Out of the Ashes: The Path to a Prosperous State” – Oklahoma has long struggled with relatively high levels of poverty, poor health outcomes, and a volatile boom and bust economy. Through these ups and downs, we have made real progress as a state and have many opportunities to continue that progress. Top state, local and tribal leaders will discuss their visions of what broad-based prosperity would look like in Oklahoma and what we can do in the short- and long-term to get there.

Panelists and Moderator:  Chuck Garrett, Executive Vice President, Cherokee Nation Businesses;  Rep. Scott Inman, House Minority Leader; Rep. Leslie Osborn, Chair, House Appropriations and Budget Committee; Ken Miller, Oklahoma State Treasurer; Mike Brown, Mayor, Weatherford; Moderator: Bailey Perkins, Legislative Liaison, Oklahoma Policy Institute

2:40 – 2:55: Break and Refreshments

2:55 – 3:45: From Info to Action!” – Kara Joy McKee, Outreach and Advocacy Specialist, Oklahoma Policy Institute.

This will be a high-energy engaging session where Together Oklahoma leaders will help connect our vision of a better Oklahoma to the steps we need to take to get there.  Both seasoned public policy advocates and regular concerned citizens are encouraged to attend as we illuminate the path to prosperity and plan how to get there together.

 Information on Previous State Budget Summits