2019 State Budget Summit

Information on Previous State Budget Summits


In 2018, Oklahoma made major progress in putting its financial affairs on the right track, but we still have a long road to travel to reverse years of cuts to public services. As Oklahoma’s 2019 legislative session approaches, now is the time to put forward a vision of what broad-based prosperity that benefits all Oklahomans looks like. The State Budget Summit is a unique opportunity for policymakers, leaders and staff from government, business, and non-profit organizations, advocates, educators, and others to become better informed and more effectively engaged.

Presentation Slides

Keynote Speaker

William Julius Wilson

William Julius Wilson is the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Education and the Institute of Medicine. He is also past President of the American Sociological Association, and is a MacArthur Prize Fellow.  In 1998 he was awarded the National Medal of Science.  His books include Power, Racism and Privilege (1973), The Declining Significance of Race (1978), The Truly Disadvantaged(1987), When Work Disappears (1996), The Bridge over the Racial Divide (1999), There Goes the Neighborhood (2006, co-author), Good Kids from Bad Neighborhoods (2006, co-author), and, most recently, More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (2009). 


8:30 – 9:15: Check-In and Light Breakfast

9:15 – 9:25:  Welcome and Introductions: Don Millican, Board Chair, Oklahoma Policy Institute

9:25 – 10:10: Overview Presentation: “Oklahoma’s Budget: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, Where We’re Going.” – David Blatt, Executive Director, Oklahoma Policy Institute

10:10 – 10:25: Break

10:25 – 11:55: Panel Discussion: “The State Budget: Where to from Here?”

Oklahoma made major progress last year in putting its fiscal affairs on the right track, but still has distance to go to reverse years of cuts to public services. In this session, state and tribal leaders will share their perspectives on the state’s current budget situation and their vision for what a budget that meets the needs of Oklahomans would look like.

PanelistsSen. Roger Thompson, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair; Rep. Emily Virgin, House Minority Leader; Gary Batton, Chief of the Choctaw Nation; Terri White, Commissioner, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Dr. Deborah Gist, Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools;

11:55 – 1:20: Lunch

12:20 – 1:20: Keynote Talk: “Race, Class, and Urban Poverty in the Age of Trump” – William Julius Wilson, Professor at Harvard University

William Julius Wilson, a Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University, is one of the nation’s most highly respected and honored social scientists. Among his numerous academic contributions and achievements, Dr. Wilson was selected in 1996 by Time magazine as one of America’s 25 Most Influential People. He is a recipient of the 1998 National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor in the United States, and the author of numerous publications, including More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City, which will be available for sale at the event.

1:20 – 1:35: Break

1:35 – 3:30: Panel Discussion: “The Oklahoma Children’s Budget”

The most important investment we can make to ensure the future prosperity of our state is in Oklahoma children. Making sure all Oklahoma kids have a safe environment, can access nutritious food and excellent health care, and have great learning opportunities is an essential goal for the state budget and our whole society. While Oklahoma has made progress in areas like reforming the child welfare system and funding a sorely-needed teacher raise, in other areas we still have significant gaps in what’s needed to make sure all children can thrive. This panel will discuss how well Oklahoma’s current budget priorities match the needs of our state’s children and what we can do to close the gaps.

Panelists: Joe Dorman, CEO, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy; Gail Lapidus, CEO, Family and Children’s Services; Gloria Torres, Vice Chair, Oklahoma City School Board, District 6; Dr. Scott Melson, Physician and Board Vice President of Let’s Fix This; Steve Buck, Executive Director, Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs

Moderator: Gene Perry, Director of Strategy and Communication / KIDS COUNT Coordinator, Oklahoma Policy Institute


Information on Previous State Budget Summits