Five reasons NOT to donate to OK Policy

Close-up ScroogeTypically, when we reach out to ask you to contribute to Oklahoma Policy Institute, we list all the good reasons why you should support our work with a tax-deductible donation. But because we are a fair and nonpartisan organization, it’s become an end-of-year tradition for us to share a reminder that there are plenty of great reasons not to contribute to OK Policy as well. Here are five of them:

1. Facts don’t matter

Facts, schmacts – who needs ’em?? If you believe public policy debates and decisions should be guided by party affiliation, ideological beliefs, and ill-informed opinion, please do NOT donate to OK Policy. Because our role is to provide independent, data-driven information, analysis, and ideas on the major policy issues facing Oklahoma. Our legislative primer, online county database, budget fact sheets, and state questions summaries all provide the facts you’ll want to avoid.

2. There’s only one side to every debate

When one party controls the legislature and executive branch, it can be easy to get everyone on board on issues like cutting the income tax or opposing the expansion of health care coverage. Who needs a think-tank complicating matters by presenting the other side of the argument in a way that claims the attention of policymakers, editorial boards, and engaged citizens? OK Policy is that voice ensuring genuine debate in Oklahoma. But if you believe there’s only one side to every debate, then you should most definitely not donate to OK Policy

3. You shouldn’t know how the state budget is spent

OK Policy works to explain the appropriations process, show where state revenues come from and how they are spent, and track budget trends over time, guided by the belief that an informed citizenry is vital to a healthy, functioning democracy. With an ever-shrinking Capitol press corps, many people count on OK Policy to shine a light on what’s happening behind the curtains. But if you prefer to remain in the dark, then making a tax-deductible contribution to OK Policy is most certainly a bad idea.

4. Oklahoma invests too much in education and other core services

In recent years, Oklahoma has struggled to recover from the deep cuts to state funding that accompanied the Great Recession. Despite some gains, we have slashed state support for public schools by the most in the nation and we are falling ever further behind in paying our teachers fair and competitive salaries. Meanwhile, severe understaffing of correctional facilties puts the safety of corrections officers at risk and thousands of those with developmental disabilities and mental illness languish on waiting lists. Now we are facing another year of gaping budget shortfalls. Some say we will just need to cut deeper and not look at options like curbing unnecessary tax breaks that can put more revenue on the table. If you agree, you should not donate to OK Policy.

5. 49th is OK, 50th is Better

Despite our relative prosperity in recent years, one out of every six Oklahomans, and one in four children, live below the federal poverty level. On a whole range of health and social indicators, Oklahoma ranks among the states with the worst outcomes, leading some to suggest that our state motto should be “Thank God for Mississippi.” One of OK Policy’s core convictions is that we need purposeful strategies aimed at expanding opportunities for all Oklahomans. We put forward thoughtful, practical policy proposals that will lead to a more prosperous, healthier state. But if you think we just need to work harder to outdo Mississippi in the race to the bottom, donating to OK Policy is probably not a good idea.

Kidding aside, we sincerely hope you will make a tax-deductible one-time or recurring year-end donation to OK Policy to help ensure that our work continues to have an impact in 2015. We greatly appreciate your support, and we wish you all the best during this holiday season.

PS: If you are uninterested in being better informed and engaged on state and national budget issues, then you should not register to attend our State Budget Summit, featuring keynote speaker E.J. Dionne on January 29th the Will Rogers Theater in . Space is limited, so just do nothing and let others take advantage of this great opportunity to hear from leading experts on our fiscal challenges in advance of the upcoming legislative session!


Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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