The Weekly Wonk – June 17, 2011

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 at OK Policy, we looked at what the Legislature did and did not do this session to try to stop the runaway train of tax expendituresClick here for our issue brief exploring tax expenditures and principles for improving accountability and transparency.  Our quick take on May general revenue collections shows that while revenues are rebounding, they are still way down from pre-downturn levels.  The state is collecting almost 25 percent less in personal income tax in FY ’11 than in FY ’07, reflecting both an impartial economic recovery and the ongoing impact of income tax cuts and tax breaks.  Go to our website to view an updated version of our Budget Trends and Outlook presentation.

Also this week, we blogged about how budget cuts have forced OKDHS to make changes to a child care subsidy program that will increase hardships for struggling low-income working families, threaten access to quality child care, and harm child care providers who serve low-income children.  The Center on Budget has a round-up of state action on Insurance Exchanges, a requirement of health care reform.  Oklahoma Assets will host the third in a series of webinars on asset-building next Thursday, June 23rd on Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).

In the Know, Policy Notes

Numbers of the Week

  • 1,196 – Adult Protective Services investigations completed by OKDHS, February 2011
  • 16 – Number of states since 1996 to exempt qualified medical marijuana patients and providers from criminal penalties; Oklahoma is not one of them
  • 60 percent – Percent of the state’s surface water that is used for public water supply; the rest is used mainly for thermoelectric power generation and irrigation
  • 179,684 – Number of Oklahoma residents who were born in another country, 2009; compared to 131,747 foreign-born residents in 2000
  • 5.6 percent – Oklahoma’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2011; 6th lowest in the country


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