The Weekly Wonk: April 13, 2012

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk is dedicated to this week’s events, publications, and blog posts.

With tax day fast approaching, we shared four ways that Oklahomans can find free tax help. In a guest post, State Chamber of Commerce Past President Ken Fergeson argued that taxes are essential for Oklahoma quality of life. We re-ran one of our favorite posts imagining what a day without taxes would be like.

OK Policy’s graph of the week shows that state appropriations as a share of the economy has shrunk dramatically in recent years. We also discussed how plummeting natural gas prices may be stopping the budget recovery in its tracks. Another blog post discussed the gap in college completion rates between whites and minorities in Oklahoma.

The side-by-side comparison of major tax cut proposals was updated with the latest changes in the bills. A letter to NewsOK cited OK Policy to show that income tax cuts would likely lead to sales and property tax increases. The Tahlequah Daily Press referenced OK Policy in a story on how faulty tax cut plans have backed the Legislature into a corner. This afternoon, the Together OK coalition will have a public meeting in Tulsa to discuss ways to educate and mobilize Oklahomans on the tax debate.

In the Know, Policy Notes

Numbers of the Day

  • 9.9 percent – Percentage of income paid in state and local taxes by the bottom 20 percent of earners in Oklahoma, compared to 4.8 percent for the top 1 percent of earners.
  • 277,000 – Number of Oklahoma residents lifted out of poverty by Social Security income, including 13,000 children
  • $113,804 – Amount of income foregone over a lifetime by a high school dropout in Oklahoma in 2011
  • $14.26 – The median hourly wage for all occupations in Oklahoma, 2011
  • 4,924 – Number of people in Oklahoma currently living with HIV/AIDS, 2009


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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