What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

In his weekly Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt urged lawmakers to heed the lessons of our state’s history — and of our bumper stickers — by not making decisions that might offer short term benefits during an economic boom but leave us ill-prepared for the next downturn.

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Carly Putnam was featured in NewsOK’s 2018 Quotes of the Year for what she said about the impact of a SoonerCare work and reporting requirement proposal. Blatt spoke about long-standing problems that incoming Governor Stitt will need to solve in a story that ran in the Enid News & Eagle and Muskogee Phoenix

Our analysis of how shrinking state budgets have deepened inequalities in fine arts education was cited by Ginnie Graham in a Tulsa World editorial and The Journal Record. A recent episode of the Business Intelligence Report on KGOU also discussed the same report.

Upcoming Opportunities

Two upcoming deadlines for the 2019 State Budget Summit: Our 6th Annual State Budget Summit will bring together Oklahomans with an interest in state policy issues to gain a clearer sense of our challenges and how they can be resolved. Monday, January 7th is the last day to submit a scholarship application. The last day to take advantage of the early-bird discount on tickets is this Friday, January 11th. Visit our event page to more details. 

The federal government needs your feedback on a SoonerCare proposal: Oklahoma has submitted a plan to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that will cut health care coverage from low-income parents who are unable to meet work and reporting requirements. We have until January 18 to raise our voice and tell DC why this plan will harm Oklahoma parents across the state. Visit OKsays.com to learn more and take action today!

Weekly What’s That

Investment/New Jobs Tax Credit, What’s That?

The Investment/New Job tax credit is a credit allowed on Oklahoma income tax. The credit can be claimed either on an investment in depreciable property or on the addition of full-time-equivalent employees engaged in manufacturing, processing, or aircraft maintenance. The tax credit can be claimed for up to five years on the greater of 1 percent per year of investment in new depreciable property or $500 per new employee. The credit doubles in officially-designated enterprise zones or if investment exceeds $40 million. In most cases, this credit cannot be claimed in conjunction with Quality Jobs incentives.

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

Quote of the Week

“Here’s the fiscal reality of Medicaid expansion: Oklahomans have been paying the taxes to support it for years now, they just haven’t been getting anything in return, because the Legislature has stubbornly refused money offered at 9-to-1 match. The idea that the money would go away once Barack Obama left the White House is now proven wrong.”

Tulsa World Editorial Board

Editorial of the Week

A pivotal year for public schools

For statehouse leaders, the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s normally would be blocked out for downtime. Family get-togethers. Church services. Watch a little football.The proverbial lull before the legislative session storm. Not this year. Instead, Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt, House Speaker Charles McCall – even Lt. Gov.-elect Matt Pinnell – jumped online for the weekly #oklaed Twitter chat to discuss all-things public ed… Having the big guns joining in the discussion suggests something is up. [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record]

Numbers of the Day

  • 87% – Decrease in jail days in Tulsa County after implementation of felony defendant screening and diversion programs.
  • 41% – Share of Oklahomans of color with medical debt that is past due and has been sent to collections agencies.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • One of the biggest challenges of kicking addiction is getting and keeping a job. [Washington Post]
  • The rising tide of wrongful convictions. [Longreads]