The Oklahoma Legislative session starts on Feb. 1, and setting the state budget is among the most impactful tasks lawmakers will tackle. To help Oklahomans better understand the state budget — and provide a look forward at the coming fiscal year — the Oklahoma Policy Institute is hosting its 7th State Budget Summit along with an advocacy training session.
The State Budget Summit will be held virtually from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Jan. 26. The event will feature state and national speakers and panelists to provide insights into the upcoming state budget and how the state can better align its budget to meet the needs of all Oklahomans. Paul Shinn, OK Policy Senior Tax and Budget Policy Analyst, will make a presentation about Oklahoma’s upcoming fiscal year. The event also will include a panel discussion featuring Oklahoma lawmakers and state policy experts.
The following day on Jan. 27, OK Policy will host a morning of training sessions to provide tools and resources for advocates who want to work towards a fairer, inclusive state. Topics will include developing advocacy skills, becoming a citizen lobbyist, building coalitions and developing advocacy campaigns.
Both events will be held online, with registration available for one or both days. The events are free, but sponsorships or donations are available to defray costs. To register, visit okpolicy.org/BudgetSummit.
The keynote speaker during Jan. 26’s State Budget Summit event will be Dr. Valerie Rawlston Wilson, who serves as director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE), a nationally recognized source for expert reports and policy analyses on the economic condition of America’s people of color. Prior to joining EPI, Wilson was an economist and vice president of research at the National Urban League Washington Bureau, where she was responsible for planning and directing the bureau’s research agenda. She has written extensively on various issues impacting economic inequality in the United States — including employment and training, income and wealth disparities, access to higher education, and social insurance.
“The annual state budget is a central component for how Oklahoma serves its taxpayers, and its development really signals what programs and services state officials consider important,” said OK Policy Board Chair Dr. Joe Siano of Norman. “It’s vital that Oklahomans have a clear picture of how the state’s budget is developed and the tools they can use to advocate for a state budget that serves the needs of all Oklahomans.”
This is the seventh year that OK Policy has hosted its State Budget Summit, and it will be the first year it has been delivered online. The State Budget Summit is one of the resources OK Policy provides to help Oklahomans better understand key government operations. Another valuable resource is OK Policy’s “Online Budget Guide,” the only comprehensive publication of its kind to help Oklahomans understand state and local governments, particularly how they collect and spend money.
For more information or to register for the State Budget Summit, visit okpolicy.org/BudgetSummit or call 918-794-3944.
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Additional advocate training opportunity: In order to provide more information regarding nuances of the 2021 legislative session and the overall process of how the Oklahoma State Capitol operates, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy will be holding a four-day Legislative Learning Lab, which is “the freshmen orientation lawmakers and advocates need but have never received,” on Jan. 27 through Feb. 1. The two events will overlap on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 27. For those who want to participate in both trainings, OICA will record its morning programming on Jan. 27 and make that content available that afternoon for those who are registered for both events. OICA also is offering a $10 discount for its four-day event for those who register for both programs as an incentive to participate in both events. Use the promo code OKPOLICY at checkout to receive the discount on the OICA link at oica.org with the Legislative Learning Lab link.