The Weekly Wonk March 8, 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 shared which other states are taking real action against mass incarceration. We discussed several new proposals designed to rein in Oklahoma’s business tax breaks. A new post in our “Neglected Oklahoma” series told the story of how incarceration costs families.

A new plan boosting for education funding is modeled on a system that allocates tax revenues for the upkeep of state highways and bridges. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis hoped that legislators will make sensible decisions to balance the budget.

This week in his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt made the case for raising the minimum wage. Blatt was quoted in Ginnie Graham’s column on how listening to debates uncovers too many false statements presented as facts. Video of speakers and panels from the 2015 Budget Summit is now available.

Weekly What’s That:

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that governs how states provide special education to children with disabilities. IDEA was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 as the Education for Handicapped Children Act, and the most recent changes to the law were passed by Congress in 2004. Read more here.

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

Quote of the Week:

“Many people probably aren’t aware that they receive a major tax subsidy from the federal government related to their health insurance. But they’d sure know if it were ever taken away. That’s because they would suddenly have thousands of dollars in additional income subject to the federal income tax and the payroll taxes.”

-Oklahoman reporter Chris Casteel, pointing out that the federal government provides a tax subsidy for all Americans who get insurance through their employer (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Ginnie Graham, The Tulsa World

“Oklahoma has always had bills introduced from the fringe and lawmakers who throw out incendiary comments. Only now, those bills are making it to a full vote and those comments are treated as facts. With the state expected to have a $650 million shortfall next fiscal year, why is so much time being spent on things like getting rid of hoodies, banning Advanced Placement history and preserving homosexual conversion therapy?”

Numbers of the Day:

  • 88% – Percentage of Oklahoma students beginning college in 2012 who stayed in state, the 8th highest in the nation.
  • 2046 – Year in which Oklahoma’s population is projected to be majority non-white.
  • 83,478 – Approximate number of Oklahomans who would see their health insurance premiums increase by an average of $208/month if the Supreme Court throws out subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act.
  • 5.8% – Percentage of Oklahomans age 18-64 who receive Social Security disability assistance.

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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