The Weekly Wonk May 10, 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 delivered a letter signed by nearly one hundred nonprofits, businesses, churches, and other organizations to the Capitol asking legislators to halt the income tax cut. The letter and full list of signers can be found here. If you wish to add your organization, you can do so here. Click here to contact your legislators as an individual. The Tulsa World and Public Radio Tulsa discussed the letter, and one of the letter’s signatories explained on NewsOn6 why the Oklahoma PTA wants lawmakers to halt the tax cut. Executive Director David Blatt explained how halting the tax cut would help the state budget on News9. On the OK Policy Blog, we shared why lawmakers don’t need a supermajority to halt the tax cut.

We argued that while the Governor’s signature on a prescription monitoring program bill is a good step forward in the state’s struggle with prescription drug abuse, more people need access to treatment. A guest post made the connection between a higher minimum wage and economic well-being. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis celebrated bills whose passage signifies a shift to a more rational criminal justice system in Oklahoma. Writing in the Journal Record, Blatt called on lawmakers to approve legislation supporting a pop culture museum in Tulsa.

We are accepting applications for the 2015 Summer Policy Institute (SPI) through May 26th. SPI is an intensive, four-day program for undergraduate and graduate students interested in public policy on August 2-5, 2015 in Tulsa. Find out more about SPI with our video preview!

Weekly What’s That:

Committee bill

A committee bill is a new legislative procedure initiated by the Senate in 2015 that allows Senate bills to be introduced after the regular legislative deadlines. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week:

“I don’t like paying taxes any more than you do, but I want to live in a state that takes care of its people. We continue to cut our taxes while year after year of decreases in funding mean that our schools, roads, public safety and agencies that contribute to the quality of life are suffering.”

– Ken Fergeson, Chairman of the NBC Oklahoma bank, which was one of more than 90 businesses, non-profits, foundations, and other organizations that joined a letter calling for Oklahoma lawmakers to halt a planned tax cut that’s happening while the state faces a $611 million budget hole. (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Teresa Meinders Burkett, The Tulsa World

To some, the choice to accept Medicaid expansion seems obvious. For those without health benefits who are so sick they will wait hours in the emergency room for a temporary patch for a long term problem, an illness is every bit as much a personal disaster as a tornado that rips apart an uninsured home. Our state is quick to call for federal help after a tornado roars through. How is the personal disaster of a heart attack or a cancer diagnosis any different when it comes to accepting federal dollars that are available?

Numbers of the Day:

  • 27.03% – Percentage of Oklahoma 18-25 year-olds who reported using marijuana in the past year (2012-2013).
  • 34% – Percentage of Oklahoma children living in single parent households.
  • 40% – Percentage of Oklahoma families with income below 200% of the federal poverty level.
  • 468 – Number of reported violent crime offenses per 100,000 of the Oklahoma population 2010 – 2012. The US median was 199.
  • 12th – Ranking of Tulsa-Muskogee-Bartlesville in the American Lung Association’s list of the most ozone-polluted cities. Oklahoma City-Shawnee ranked 15th.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

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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