The Weekly Wonk April 19, 2015

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week, we shared a new poll showing that a majority of Oklahomans want the income tax cut to be cancelled due to the budget shortfall. Let your legislators know that you agree by clicking here.  We are collecting signatures from business owners and directors of organizations for a letter to leadership urging them to halt the tax cut here.

We explained how suggestions that Congress won’t uphold its obligation to fund health coverage rely on a misunderstanding of how that funding is determined. OK Policy intern Drew Capps detailed new research showing that Oklahoma’s payday lenders target vulnerable populations and military installations. Oklahoma Watch hosted a forum on challenges in low-income neighborhoods on Thursday. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis explained why the state’s legislative activity is currently concentrated in conference committees.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt encouraged lawmakers to uphold Rep. David Dank’s legacy by reforming costly tax breaks. Policy Director Gene Perry spoke to the Tulsa World about the budget shortfall’s impact on the state’s ability to fund core services.  The Tulsa World’s Editorial Board used OK Policy data while calling on legislators to halt the income tax cut.

We are currently accepting applications for our 2015 Summer Policy Institute (SPI)! Oklahoma college students of all levels with an interest in public policy are encouraged to apply. SPI attendees become better informed about vital Oklahoma policy issues, network with fellow students and leaders, and prepare for their future studies and work in policy-related fields.

Weekly What’s That:

Striking Title

Striking title is a common procedural maneuver in the Oklahoma Legislature. It is used especially on bills that impact the state budget or bills that are considered to be a work-in-progress. Read more.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week:

“We do not believe it is reasonable for a 73-year-old insurance executive to be involved in a dangerous undercover sting operation. We do not believe it is reasonable for Bob Bates to be carrying a gun that was not issued by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. We do not believe it is reasonable — or responsible — for Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office to accept gifts from a wealthy citizen who wants to be a ‘pay to play’ cop.”

-Statement from the family of Eric Harris, who was killed when a Tulsa Sheriff’s Office donor serving as a ‘reserve deputy’ shot him in the back after pulling a gun instead of a Taser (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Editorial Board, The Tulsa Word

Under the promise that cutting Oklahoma income taxes would cause a bonanza of economic growth, Oklahoma has made it impossible to fund adequately those things that will, in fact, lead to economic growth, education and infrastructure.

…Nobody enjoys paying taxes. They are a necessary annoyance, the price of living in civilized society. We hope Oklahomans enjoy the $31 they’ll realize on average as a result of the 2016 tax cut, but we frankly don’t think it will be worth its real cost.

Numbers of the Day:

  • $2.55 – Average cost for meals per inmate per day in Oklahoma correctional institutions.
  • 2.07 – Average number of personal exemptions claimed on Oklahoma tax returns in 2013, 10th highest in the U.S.
  • 15.3 – Number of black students per thousand who were referred to police and courts by schools in 2011-2012, far higher than the national average for black students (9.8) and about 3 times Oklahoma’s rate for white students (4.2) and Hispanic students (6.3).
  • 25.6% – Percentage of Oklahomans claiming itemized deductions on federal taxes in 2012.
  • 472 – Federal public corruption convictions 1976-2010 in Oklahoma.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

We’re Reading:


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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