In The Know: Oklahoma makes ‘Quality Jobs’ payments to companies that aren’t creating new jobs

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that the OK Policy Blog explained how a provision in the “Quality Jobs” program is allowing Oklahoma to pay millions to companies that aren’t creating any new jobs in the state. KGOU shared the audio of the economic development panel at OK Policy’s Summer Policy Institute. Links to other recordings from the Summer Policy Institute are available here.

An educator and charter school founder is joining the race for state Superintendent, bringing the total to 5 Democrats and 1 Republican challenging current Superintendent Janet Barresi. The okeducationtruths blog points out that an Oklahoman editorial completely missed the point of a report on flaws in the state’s A-F grades for schools.

A same-sex couple was legally married in Oklahoma under the jurisdiction of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. A new report finds Oklahoma is ranked 3rd in the nation for the number of women killed by men, a jump in the state’s previous ranking.

The Number of the Day is the average life expectancy of someone born in Oklahoma. In today’s Policy Note, Governing Magazine explains why the focus of efforts to reduce economic inequality needs to be wealth, not jobs.

In The News

Oklahoma makes ‘Quality Jobs’ payments to companies that aren’t creating new jobs

Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs Program began in 1993. In fiscal year 2013, it paid incentives of $78.9 million to Oklahoma companies. The purpose of the program is to incentivize businesses to bring jobs to Oklahoma. Yet one provision, the “Change in Control Event”, allows companies who create no new jobs to receive payments from the state. This blog post shares two case studies of how this provision has led to questionable Quality Jobs payments.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

Economic Development: Where the jobs are

A panel speaking during the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Summer Policy Institute talked about the ways economic development policies help support jobs in communities. Panelists discussed the kinds of policies state and local governments should pursue in the creation of stable, good-paying jobs. They also examined workforce development issues, including the affect of tax incentives and quality of life issues.

Listen to the audio from KGOU.

Find audio from other Summer Policy Institute panels.

Another challenger joins superintendent race

The candidate field for next year’s state superintendent race is becoming more crowded. Freda Deskin, founder and CEO of the Advanced Science and Technology Education Charter middle and high schools in Oklahoma City, announced her candidacy Monday. Deskin, a Democrat, held a morning news conference in Tulsa, and in the afternoon she was joined at an Oklahoma City news conference by her campaign chairwoman, Kim Henry, the state’s former first lady. The primary election is not until June 24, but challengers to the re-election campaign of incumbent Superintendent Janet Barresi now number six.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Those pesky academics

Predictably, today’s editorial in the Oklahoman completely misses the point of the OU/OSU study critical of our state’s A-F Report Cards. The second sentence is the kicker for me. This was no tirade. This was a long, methodical study of student data, including test scores and key socioeconomic variables. And their finding was quite different than the representation given here by the paper.

Read more from okeducationtruths.

Same-sex Oklahoma couple marries legally under tribal law

It is the first of its kind in Oklahoma, a legal same-sex marriage in a state that doesn’t even recognize it. It’s the photo Jason Pickel still can’t believe, the moment capturing a marriage — he thought would never happen. For the past five years, Jason’s wanted to marry boyfriend Darren Black Bear. The two even planned a trip to Iowa, a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. But when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last June, Pickel had an idea. He called the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe’s courthouse and asked a simple question.

Read more from KOCO.

Oklahoma ranks third in number of women killed by men

Oklahoma is ranked No. 3 in the nation for the number of women killed by men, according to a recent report from the Violence Policy Center. This is a startling statistic — and a jump in the state’s previous ranking. According to the report, the overwhelming majority of the women in Oklahoma who were killed — 97 percent — knew the person who killed them. In fact, 61 percent of the women were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives or girlfriends of the offenders.

Read more from NewsOK.

Quote of the Day

I was really expecting a big no. I thought we’re on our way to Iowa, but I called the tribe and they said, ‘Yeah come on down, it’s twenty bucks.’

-Jason Pickel, whose legal marriage to Darren Black Bear was recognized by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (Source:

Number of the Day

75.9 years

Average life expectancy of someone born in Oklahoma — 5.4 years less than someone born in Hawaii (81.3 years) and higher only to Louisiana (75.7), Alabama (75.4), West Virginia (75.4) and Mississippi (75.0).

Source: Measure of America

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Reducing Economic Inequality: It’s about wealth, not jobs

Inequality of wealth and income in the United States is as high as it has ever been. Family net worth is at a 43-year low. Nearly one out of six Americans relies on food stamps, a program which at the moment is threatened with extinction. In New York City, about 50,000 people, of whom 21,600 are children, are in homeless shelters. These are troubling facts, and not just at a moral dimension but in terms of the threat they pose to social cohesion and stability.

Read more from Governing.

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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