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 at OK Policy, we interviewed Steven Dow about recent controversy at the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services. We pointed out that state leaders can’t rely on growth revenue to fund infrastructure repair and other priorities if they continue to cut (or even eliminate) the income tax.
Former State Treasurer Scott Meacham explains on the OK Policy blog that Oklahoma’s Rural and Small Business Tax Credit initiatives end up costing the state hundreds of millions in tax revenues. The blog also featured a post on asset-building as an anti-poverty strategy. Our director David Blatt was a guest this week on Studio Tulsa, discussing the importance of the income tax in adequately funding state government and essential services for Oklahomans. Oklahoma Policy Institute’s director was also quoted in two articles this week on federal income tax liability for low-income households and the role of unemployment benefits during a recession.
In the Know, Policy Notes
- Tthe Economix blog examines whether it is more cost-effective to direct resources to college students or to preschoolers and kindergarteners in order to increase college completions over the longer term.
- Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder discover that immigration is correlated with falling crime rates.
- Bloomberg reports on how municipalities and state agencies, including the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, are taking advantage of historically low interest rates to refinance bond issues and save money.
- The National Employment Law Project warns that if Congress doesn’t renew extended unemployment insurance by the end of this year, we risk plunging millions into deeper financial crisis and putting yet another obstacle in the path of economic growth.
- The National Academy of State Health Policy released a paper detailing efforts by state agencies to identify and act on racial and ethnic health disparities.
- 16.43 inches – Amount statewide average precipitation was below normal this water year (October 1-September 30), the 2nd driest year on record for Oklahoma.
- 1,865 – Number of foreclosures in Oklahoma in August, down 5.8 percent from the same month in 2010
- $31,600 – Minimum amount in salary and fringe benefits earned by a first-year Oklahoma public school teacher with a bachelor’s degree, 2011-2012
- 80.3 – Number of primary care physicians per 100,000 people in Oklahoma, compared to 120.5 nationally. Oklahoma ranked 49th in availability of primary care physicians, 2010
- 29 percent – Percentage of Oklahoma’s K-12 children who are on their own after school, 2009