The Weekly Wonk: December 21, 2012

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

This week a guest post from Dr. Jonathan Wilner presented new findings that a significant part of the A-F grade given to Oklahoma schools is driven by socio-economic conditions of the schoolchildren’s parents.  The OK Policy Blog revealed how  medical debt is eroding the financial security of many Oklahoma households.  We also blogged about a documentary on how the Great Recession and years of stagnate wages have put working people in an increasingly precarious financial position.

In response to a recent Oklahoman editorial, which took issue with our work on tax breaks for horizontal drilling, we clarified some important facts that they got wrong, including assigning OK Policy positions we have never taken.  

OK Policy director David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed the tale of Tulsa’s competing Christmas/Holiday parades.  Our director also wrote this week about how Governor Fallin’s healthcare decisions and AG Pruitt’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act put politics over Oklahomans, which was also featured as a Tulsa World opinion editorial.

Policy Notes

  • The Huffington Post reports on why Walmart workers are especially vulnerable to going without medical coverage in states that do not join the Medicaid expansion.
  • The Death Penalty Information Center finds that executions are at their lowest level in 20 years, with Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, and Arizona together responsible for more than three-quarters of executions nationwide.
  • The Urban Institute examines the massive growth and increasing cost of the federal prison system and finds that reductions in sentence lengths – particularly for drug offenders – can most directly contain future growth.
  • The National Women’s Law Center lists 5 problems with House Speaker Boehner’s ‘Plan B’ to avoid the fiscal cliff.
  • Oklahoma came in last in a 24/7 Wall St. ranking of the quality of key state entitlements, including unemployment benefits, Medicaid, welfare and education. 

Numbers of the Day 

  • 12 – Number of Open Records Requests received by the Governor’s office regarding actions taken on Oklahoma’s health insurance exchange
  • $1,362,465 – Amount slated to be cut from senior welfare programs in Oklahoma if across the board federal budget cuts, or ‘sequestration’, is not averted by Congress
  • 9 to 12 – Inches of rain needed by the end of 2012 to bring central and northeast Oklahoma near normal levels of annual rainfall
  • $0 – Gross production tax revenue to the General Revenue fund in November due to low gas prices and growing tax credits for horizontal and deep well drilling.
  • 5 – Number of schools in Oklahoma awarded a 2012 National Blue Ribbon for exemplary high performance, out of 314 awarded total in the U.S.nationally


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.