The Weekly Wonk May 31, 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 is the last day to apply for OK Policy’s annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI)! SPI is a three and a half-day public policy intensive for Oklahoma undergraduate and graduate students in early August. Participants learn about the nuts and bolts of state public policy, meet and work with students with similar interests, and network with policymakers in a range of fields. Scholarships are available for any students who need them. Click here to apply.

This week on the OK Policy Blog, former intern Drew Capps explained how the state’s rejection of federal funds to expand health coverage is particularly harmful to African-American and Hispanic families. Michael Meachman, Director of State Fiscal Research for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, shared new research that further undermines claims states can boost their economies by cutting taxes. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis detailed how state officials filled the budget hole.

Writing in the Journal Record, Executive Director David Blatt questioned why lawmakers rushed through passing the budget – the most important bill of the legislative session. In The Oklahoman, Policy Director Gene Perry called for an honest conversation over what Oklahomans expect the state to do and how to pay for it.

Weekly What’s That:

1017 Fund

The 1017 Fund, or Education Reform Revolving Fund, is a dedicated revenue fund that is appropriated to the State Department of Education. The fund initially consisted of personal and corporate income tax, sales tax, and use tax revenues… Read more.

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

Quote of the Week:

“That would be extremely disappointing to a lot of people, if we’re going to spend that money on private prison beds. (Employee) morale is in a bad place. I don’t know how it could possibly get worse.”

– Sean Wallace, executive director of Oklahoma Corrections Professionals, on news that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has decided to spend its $14 million budget increase on sending more inmates to private prisons instead of providing the employee raises proposed in the agency’s budget request (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Gene Perry, The Oklahoman

The result is a budget that fails to maintain education and health care at levels Oklahomans need, and continues to ratchet down support for the arts, economic development, state parks and other areas that are key to making Oklahoma a great place to live. It’s not that lawmakers took a stand against wild spending expansion — it’s that they refused to take steps needed to avoid serious reductions. Under the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, Oklahomans can expect continued teacher shortages, larger class sizes, higher fees and college tuition, and less opportunity for many to get urgent medical care — among other bad consequences.

Numbers of the Day:

  • 9,572 people – Net population growth in Oklahoma City in 2014, an increase of 1.6%.
  • 9.7 million – Barrels of crude oil produced in Oklahoma in 2015, 6th highest in the nation.
  • 3% – Total additional increase in Oklahoma Medicaid expenditures 2015-2024 were the state to accept federal funds to expand health coverage to 150,000 low-income Oklahomans.
  • 23,852 – Net international migration into Oklahoma from April 2010 to July 2014.

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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