The Weekly Wonk March 22, 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, we proposed options for a balanced approach to solve Oklahoma’s budget gap. An upcoming event at TU on April 9th features Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, delivering “Inequality in American Society – Should We Blame the Market?” On the OK Policy Blog, we noted that with HB 1749, the Oklahoma legislature seems to be more focused on punishing teachers than helping them.

All Oklahoma college students are encouraged to apply to our 2015 Summer Policy Institute (SPI), an exciting three and a half-day public policy intensive. SPI offers participants the opportunity to become better informed about vital Oklahoma policy issues, network with fellow students and leaders, and prepare for their future studies and work in policy-related fields.

Time is running out to take our survey! Do you want more infographics? More policy briefs? Are we too liberal, or too conservative? Now’s the time to let us know! We’ll shut down the survey and start crunching numbers after Monday.

In his Journal Record column this week, Executive Director David Blatt argued that a scheduled income tax cut should be stopped, on the grounds that the cut was never intended to be implemented under such dire fiscal conditions. Blatt was quoted by NewsOK in an article discussing how negative media attention hurts the state’s business prospects.

Weekly What’s That:

Coverage crater

This term refers to people in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid who earn too much for traditional Medicaid but not enough to qualify for subsidies on the online health insurance marketplaces. Then the ACA was originally drafted, it was with the intention that all states would expand Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) – $27,310 for per year for a family of three in 2014. Read more here.

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

Quote of the Week:

“Someone in Oklahoma City ought to have the sense God gave a goat, and understand the state government cannot continue to function with this type of shortfall.”

-The Tahlequah Daily Press, in an op-ed criticizing the Legislature for allowing another income tax cut to go forward while the state has a $611 million budget hole (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Editorial Board, The Oklahoman

Democrats recently attempted to delay a tax cut, but were rebuffed by their Republican colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. GOP members quickly issued a news release touting the vote as proof that Republicans are fully committed to reducing Oklahomans’ tax burdens.

 Despite that rhetoric, there’s reason for skepticism. Republican lawmakers have already considered legislation this session to delay another scheduled tax cut, potentially for years.

Numbers of the Day:

  • 51.8% – Percentage of inmates in prison for nonviolent offenses as of December 31, 2014.
  • $32,000 – Median annual earnings for women employed full-time, year-round in Oklahoma, lower than in 42 other states.
  • 53% – Percent of students who graduated from 4 year above colleges or universities in Oklahoma with student loan debt in 2012. The national average is 60%.
  • $477,000,000 – Net revenue of new immigrant owned businesses in Oklahoma in 2010, 5.3 percent of all net business income in the state.
  • -2.20% –Average premium cost change for the lowest-cost silver-level plan available in Oklahoma’s health insurance marketplace from 2014 to 2015 (from $206 to $201, before subsidies).

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What 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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