The Weekly Wonk – November 18, 2011

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

On our blog, we reported on a speech by PolicyLink CEO Angela Blackwell Glover making the case that an economic model that promotes equity is vital for the nation’s prosperity. With tax breaks continuing to receive close legislative scrutiny, we posted Rep. David Dank’s guiding principles for tax credit reform, as well as a piece our analyst Gene Perry originally submitted to Oklahoma Watch on what good tax expenditure policy would look like.

Our Quick Take on the latest state revenue collections showed that despite recent growth, revenues are still well below pre-downturn levels.  We discussed the important role of public benefit programs in alleviating poverty revealed by a new poverty measure released by the Census Bureau.

OK Policy was in the news this week commenting on the lack of progress the state  has made in developing a state-operated health care exchange (You can see our recent legislative presentation on this subject here). We also released a 1-page fact sheet on Oklahoma’s racial unemployment gap that led to this article from This Land Press.

In the Know, Policy Notes

Numbers of the Week

  • 26 – Number of months since the Great Recession began 45 months ago that Oklahoma has experienced job losses, including 800 non-farm jobs lost in September 2011.
  • $636 – Median monthly gross rent -rent plus utilities- for renters in Oklahoma, 8th lowest in the nation in 2009.
  • 76 percent – Percentage of 8th grade students in Oklahoma with computer access in their classrooms in 2007; just 50 percent of 8th grade students nationally had computer access.
  • 88.7 – Preventable hospitalizations per 1,000 Medicare patients in Oklahoma in 2010 compared 70.6 nationally; preventable hospitalizations are diagnoses amenable to non-hospital care.
  • 1.7 percent – Percentage of U.S. residents that moved from one state to another per year between 2001 and 2010; only about 30 percent of Americans change states over their entire lifetime.




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