The Weekly Wonk: May 4, 2012

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk is dedicated to this week’s events, publications, and blog posts.

This week OK Policy discussed how much like last year, ambitious talk of reining in tax expenditures has amounted to very little.  We posted an excerpt from State Treasurer Ken Miller’s Economic Report on the precarious situation with natural gas prices.  We explained why state programs designed to help the poor should reward those who save.

On Wednesday May 9th, the State Chamber of Oklahoma is hosting a tax policy forum, co-sponsored by Oklahoma Policy Institute and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, featuring Arthur Laffer and UCO Business Dean Mickey Hepner.  Click here to watch video highlights of an earlier forum on proposals to eliminate the income tax.  We evaluated a recent public opinion poll and found that after accounting for margin of error, it did not find conclusive majority public support for cutting the state income tax rate.

OK Policy analyst Gene Perry wrote in the Oklahoma Gazette about the importance of broad-based tax credits that encourage work and strengthen families with children.  Our Director David Blatt wrote in The Journal Record about the state’s common goals and how best to use our resources to achieve them.

In The Know, Policy Notes

Numbers of the Day

  • 2nd – Oklahoma’s rank nationally for the percentage of its residents who report engaging in no leisure-time physical activity at all, 31 percent of adults in 2010.
  • 480 – Number of violent crimes committed in Oklahoma per 100,000 people in 2010, down from 550 violent crimes in 1990.
  • 5.4 percent – Oklahoma’s unemployment rate, 8th lowest in the U.S. in March 2012, compared to 8.2 percent nationally.
  • $1.27 – Amount per hour less Oklahomans earn in median wages compared to the national median wage.
  • 72 percent – Percentage of Oklahomans who adhere to a Protestant religion, compared to 51 percent nationally in 2007.


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