The Weekly Wonk: October 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 Oklahoma Policy Institute released an updated budget trends and highlights fact sheet.  A new resource shows who pays taxes in Oklahoma, and how much, in two simple charts.  David Blatt’s Journal Record column explains how we all pay taxes – rich, poor and middle class alike.

We analyzed State Question 764, which would provide financial reinforcement for water infrastructure projects in Oklahoma.  You can find information about all of the state questions on the November ballot at our 2012 State Questions page.

Also this week, the OK Policy Blog ran an interview with CFED’s founder Bob Friedman, explaining how public policies tend to reward the rich, miss the middle, and penalize the poor.  We blogged about an American Prospect story on the decline of labor unions.

OK Policy Director David Blatt was quoted in a Tulsa World article about the first presidential debate.  Policy analyst Kate Richey was interviewed on OETA about the prevalence of predatory lending in the state and how borrowers fall into payday loan ‘debt traps.’

Numbers of the Day

  • 2nd – Oklahoma’s rank nationally for the number of children in the foster care system per capita, 2004-2006
  • $1,035 – The average annual amount Oklahoma employees contributed in premiums for an employer-sponsored health insurance policy in 2011, up from $386 in 2001
  • 37 percent – Percentage of graduating seniors in Oklahoma who scored ‘college-ready’ for math on the ACT in 2012, up from 32 percent in 2008
  • 880,939 – Number of Oklahomans that were enrolled in the food stamp program at some point during FY 2011, up 13 percent from FY 2010
  • $2.00 – The amount per day it costs the Dept. of Corrections for a paroled offender in Oklahoma, versus $45 per day for an incarcerated offender.

Policy Notes

  • Mother Jones reports on aging of the inmate population that is shaping up to be a crisis with moral, practical, and economic implications for cash-strapped governments.
  • Political scientists Suzanne Mettler and John Sides explain why dividing Americans between “makers” and “takers” fails to capture the way that we experience government, with nearly everyone paying for government social policies with tax dollars and directly benefiting from these policies at some point in our lives.
  • Dana Goldstein explains why the film ‘Won’t Back Down”, which was cited by Sen. David Holt and Superintendent Barresi as the inspiration for parent trigger legislation, has bad lessons for education policy.
  • A new study from Georgetown University researchers suggests that even if insurers are allowed to sell across state lines, they won’t choose to do so.
  • The National Women’s Law Center analyzed new Census Data and calculated the wage gap state by state.



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