The Weekly Wonk: Low-income Oklahomans ignored; a chat with Carly Putnam; & more…

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

This week, we wrapped up our End of Session Round-Up posts with overviews on two more of our core issues:

  • Economic Opportunity Policy Analyst Courtney Cullison lamented that the legislature missed several opportunities to improve the lives of hard-working Oklahomans and their families. 
  • Executive Director (and Budget and Tax Policy Analyst) David Blatt noted that it was a quiet year in taxes thanks to a budget surplus generated by last year’s revenue increases and a strong economy.

In his weekly Journal Record column, Blatt underscored that low-income Oklahomans were not among this session’s winners. In an Enid News & Eagle column, Blatt’s analysis showed that increased gross productions taxes are fueling Oklahoma’s revenue boom. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update reflected on Ed Lake’s time as Director of Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services.

In this week’s edition of Meet OK Policy, we’re featuring Southeast Oklahoma Field Organizer Kyle Lawson.

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Carly Putnam joined Public Radio Tulsa for Medical Monday to discuss how our state’s lawmakers addressed various medical and health-related issues this session. In an editorial, Wayne Greene cited Blatt’s piece on the role of gross production taxes in the state’s revenue boom.

Upcoming Opportunities

Last week to apply for our Outreach and Legislative Liaison position: Are you an experienced advocate committed to expanding opportunity and social justice for all Oklahomans? You could join our growing team at Oklahoma Policy Institute as an Outreach & Legislative Liaison. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 21st.

Weekly What’s That

Open Meetings Act, What’s That?

Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act (25 O.S. Sections 301-314) requires all public bodies to file advance notice of regularly scheduled and special meetings with the Secretary of State, as well as advance notice of changes in date, time, or location of regularly scheduled meetings.

”Public body” means all boards, bureaus, commissions, agencies, trusteeships, authorities, councils, committees, public trusts, task forces or study groups supported in whole or in part by public funds or entrusted with the expending of public funds, or administering public property, and includes all committees or subcommittees of any public body. Read more about Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act.

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

Quote of the Week

“Oklahomans are paying for Medicaid expansion in other states, but our obstinate refusal to accept the money for our own people puts the health of the working poor and the financial stability of our rural hospital network at risk.”

-Tulsa World Editorial Board [Tulsa World]

Editorial of the Week

What happened when Oklahoma raised petroleum taxes modestly? The petroleum industry boomed

So much for the fiction that modestly raising gross production tax levels would destroy the state’s oil industry. On his way out the door, retiring Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt has written a convincing analysis of what happened to the industry since the Legislature begrudgingly raised taxes last years. It’s booming. [Wayne Greene / Tulsa World]

Numbers of the Day

  • 3,646 – Net migration into Canadian County over the 12-month period ending in July 2018, the most of any county in Oklahoma.
  • 50% – How much greater the reduction in infant mortality between 2010 and 2016 was in Medicaid expansion states compared to non-expansion states.
  • 1.3 percentage points – Decrease in percentage of prime working age (25-54) Oklahomans working in 2017 compared to 2007.
  • $260 million – How much additional revenue was brought in last September through April due to Oklahoma’s gross production tax increase on oil and gas drilling.
  • 24.8 percent – Percentage of Oklahomans age 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree in 2017, up from 23.5 percent in 2013.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Having a library or cafe down the block could change your life. [CityLab]
  • Licensed undocumented immigrants may lead to safer roads, Connecticut finds. [NPR]
  • A secret to better health care. [New York Times]
  • More low-income students are attending college, but they’re still playing catch-up on their wealthier peers. [Market Watch]
  • D’Angelo Burgess fled from police. Does that make him a killer? [The Marshall Project]


Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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