The Weekly Wonk: February 8, 2013

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

This week we released a statement and posted a detailed analysis of the Governor’s FY 2014 budget, which falls far short of our needs for schools, public safety, and other core state services.  Our response to Governor Fallin’s budget was covered by CapitolBeatOK and KOKH Fox 25 in Oklahoma City.

Guest blogger Camille Landry shared a true story of what it’s like to go without health insurance in Oklahoma.  We shared information about the Scholars Strategy Network, a new national initiative aimed at getting scholars more actively engaged in public policy debates.  Our director David Blatt spoke to a conference about the possibility of civil discourse in Oklahoma.  

Numbers of the Day

  • 3.4 million – Number of registered vehicles in Oklahoma – close to one automobile per person in 2009
  • 31,000 – Number of people who work for the largest private employer in Oklahoma, Wal-Mart, employing nearly 4 times as many as the state’s 2nd largest employer (Integris) in 2011
  • $1,336 – Amount spent per capita annually in Oklahoma on gasoline, compared to $1,217 nationally
  • 69,299 – Number of persons receiving assistance through the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services in Oklahoma, FY 2011
  • 117 – Maximum number of days until adjournment of this year’s Oklahoma Legislative Session, which begins today and adjourns by May 31, 2013.

In The Know, Policy Notes

  • Urban Institute examines how federal and state spending on children varies by age.
  • The Shriver Brief discusses federal legislation that has been introduced to stop abusive online and bank payday loans.
  • An MIT political scientist belonging to the Scholars Strategy Network explains how compared with other developed countries, the United States has very low taxes, does little to fight inequality, and has an extraordinarily complex tax code that undermines faith in the system.
  • The American Prospect reports on how the Equifax credit reporting agency is selling information about Americans’ paychecks and health care usage to debt collectors, even while many employees are forbidden from sharing the information themselves.
  • The Washington Post reports on an FCC proposal to create public WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.


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