The Weekly Wonk: March 10, 2013

the_weekly_wonkThe Sunday Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage.  Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know.  Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

medicaidThis week Oklahoma Policy Institute released an issue brief proving that Medicaid in Oklahoma is not broken.  Contrary to critic’s claims, we detailed why SoonerCare (basic insurance for low-income children, expectant mothers, seniors, and persons with disabilities) is an indispensable cornerstone of the state’s health care system that provides affordable, efficient care.  Our Medicaid release was covered in NewsOK and the Tulsa World.

The OK Policy Blog analyzed tax reforms proposed by State Senate Republicans.  A guest post discussed ballot access reform in Oklahoma, the only state to limit voters to two choices for President in the last three elections.  We posted a video animating new public opinion research on wealth distribution in the U.S.

Finger-PointingWe posted a page for you to track and learn about pending bills that threaten safety net assistance for low-income Oklahomans.  Click here to receive updates about the status of these bills as they move through the legislative process.

David Blatt explained in the Journal Record why policy proposals that would deny food assistance for those with even modest savings are counterproductive.  Our director was also interviewed this week by NewsOn6 and KJRH about that state of funding for common education in Oklahoma.

Policy Notes

  • JAMA found an association between the strength of a state’s firearm laws and their rate of gun deaths. 
  • CBPP shows why cutting state income taxes won’t create jobs and may harm state economies.
  • The Washington Post reports that sequester cuts are hitting Native American and military schools hard.
  • Time Magazine has an in-depth investigation into why American health care bills are so high.

Numbers of the Day

  • 124,067 – The number of disabled workers in Oklahoma receiving a monthly OASDI (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) benefit from Social Security, about 5 percent of working age adults in 2011
  • $0 – Amount of money allocated by Oklahoma in the last two years for adult basic education centers, which offer GED prep courses and teach basic math and reading skills, previously allotted between $2-3M dollars annually by the state
  • $125 M – Amount the Governor’s tax plan would cost the state in revenue when fully implemented
  • 48,167 – Number of convicted felons in Oklahoma, making them ineligible to vote, unable to receive federal student loans, and barred from working in a litany of professions.
  • 24,000 – The number of Department of Defense civilian employees in Oklahoma who will be furloughed as a result of the sequester, reducing their gross pay by $123.9 million



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