The Weekly Wonk March 15, 2015

the_weekly_wonkThe 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 KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week on the OK Policy Blog, we explained how a nonsensical double-dip tax break is costing Oklahoma millions. Almost one year after introducing a new school meals program to help kids in poverty, we checked back in and found that it saves money, allows schools to allocate staff more efficiently, and means students eat better. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis writes that public support can help two sexual abuse awareness bills advance in the Legislature.

Oklahoma Assets Network invites you to Who Pays More?, a town hall forum on predatory lending in Oklahoma on April 15th at 6:30pm at the OU Faculty House. The forum will feature remarks from Dr. Haydar Kurban, the author of new research on payday lending patterns in the state, “The Demographics of Payday Lending in Oklahoma,” followed by a panel discussion. Click here to RSVP.

We here at OK Policy are committed to providing you with timely and accurate analysis about a wide range of state policy issues – but we want to make sure that what we’re doing is helpful to you. Should we spend more time making infographics? More in-depth reports? A mobile app? We want to know what you think, and you can let us know by taking our survey.

This week in his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt discussed a new documentary film, Children of the Civil Rights, and the legacy of the civil rights movement. Blatt was also interviewed on KWGS about solutions for solving the state’s $611 million shortfall. (Click here for an inexplicable but entertaining gibberish version.)

Weekly What’s That

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit that subsidizes work for low-income families. More than 26 million households will receive a total of $60 billion in reduced taxes and refunds in 2015, according to the Tax Policy Center, making the EITC the nation’s largest cash or near cash assistance program after the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Read more here.

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

Quote of the Week:

“The institutional culture that allows those students to do that has to be dealt with, but it’s not just institutional culture, it’s systematic culture that has to be dealt with in the state of Oklahoma. We cannot continue to keep our heads in the sand.”

– D. Lavel Crawford, pastor of Avery Chapel AME Church and member of a group of black preachers calling for ongoing investigation and dialogue about racism in colleges and universities across the state (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Editorial Board, The Tulsa World

The dangerous language in HB 1361 remains alive in the House, but the publicity over the quiet effort to take away public access to public records has made it political poison. Sunshine works. But, in the shadows, government secrecy will always look for a means to avoid transparency. We celebrate Sunshine Week with a continued commitment to the cause. The people pay for government, and they deserve the right to know what it’s doing.

Numbers of the Day:

  • 75% – Percentage of undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma who do not have health insurance.
  • 33% – Percentage of Oklahoma adults who report doing no physical activity or exercise other than their regular job in the last 30 days.
  • 7% – Percentage of businesses in Oklahoma owned by immigrants.
  • 18.5% – Percent uninsured in Oklahoma in 2014.
  • 21.3% – Percentage of all nonfarm employees in Oklahoma who worked in the government sector in 2013.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What’s we’re Reading:


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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