The Weekly Wonk: Revenue failure, leadership failure, and more…

the_weekly_wonkWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly W onk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

Because The Weekly Wonk took a break for the holidays, this edition contains links from the past few weeks.

This Week from OK Policy

On the OK Policy Blog, Executive Director David Blatt explained the meaning of the mid-year revenue failure. He also expanded on a Journal Record column explaining the leadership failure that led to the revenue failure. With some help from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Policy Director Gene Perry made a calculator that estimates how much you can expect from this year’s tax cut and made some suggestions for what you can do with that money. We’d previously explained why the tax cut should have been stoppedIn his Journal Record column, Blatt took a break from the state’s dismal financial situation to remind us of some of the positives of living in Oklahoma

A blog post by OK Policy Research Fellow Matt Hecox suggested pre-registration would improve turnout among younger voters. Our report “Repairing Oklahoma’s Broken Democracy” makes other suggestions for increasing turnout. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis discussed the limitations of criminal justice reform. OK Policy Intern Elizabeth Armstrong wrote that health care is out of reach for many working families because the state has refused to expand coverage to low-income Oklahomans. Shortly before the New Year, we summarized our 15 most popular posts of 2015.

Upcoming Events

  • State Budget Summit: As Oklahoma’s 2016 legislative session approaches, the state’s budget crisis is uppermost on the mind of policymakers and the public. OK Policy’s 3rd Annual State Budget Summit will bring together experts and those affected by the budget crisis for a day of thoughtful discussion and exchange of ideas on Thursday, January 28th in Oklahoma City. Only a handful of tickets are still available – find out more and get yours here.
  • OK Policy in Tulsa’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade: OK Policy, the Together Oklahoma and Oklahoma Assets Network coalitions, and the Summer Policy Institute alumni network would like to invite our supporters and members to join us for our first marching group in the Tulsa Martin Luther King Jr parade on Monday, January 18th! Please email KJ at to RSVP and to receive further instructions. View the Facebook event page here.
  • “Dream On” film screening: OK Policy and the OSU Forum of Geography Graduate Students will host a screening of the new documentary Dream On at OSU-Stillwater on Tuesday, January 19th at 6:30pm. In an epic road trip, political comedian John Fugelsang retraces the journey of Alexis de Tocqueville to investigate the perilous state of the American Dream after decades of rising income inequality and declining economic mobility. Find out more and RSVP here.

OK Policy in the News

Blatt spoke to Rich Fisher at Studio Tulsa about the revenue failure and budget hole. The Journal Record quoted Blatt in an article about a bill that would further sanction TANF recipients who leave their jobs. The Tulsa World cited OK Policy in discussion of civil asset forfeiture reform in Oklahoma. An op-ed in the Tahlequah Daily Press quoted OK Policy on the budget shortfall. 

Weekly What’s That

Tax base

The number of people, the kind of property, or the types of goods and services to which a tax is applied.

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

Quote of the Week

“We do know that some school districts are going to have a very difficult time remaining open.”

– State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister, announcing $47 million in midyear cuts to Oklahoma school districts as a result of the state’s revenue failure (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Rep. David Perryman, The Oklahoma Observer

Back in my college days, I had a class comparing economic systems from around the world. It was my first real exposure to the inefficiencies of Soviet industrial manufacturing and provided specific examples of factories that produced goods according to the demands of the government and not to the needs of its citizens. Supply bore no relationship to demand and factories did ridiculous things like make left shoes only because the quota requirements focused on the number of shoes and not the number of pairs produced or customer satisfaction. There was no place in the inefficient Soviet model to consider the needs of its citizens.

Oklahoma voters have installed their own model of inefficiency.

Numbers of the Day

  • 62.7% – Percentage of children age 19 – 35 months in Oklahoma who are immunized.
  • 138,220 – Number of captive roosters in Oklahoma (2012).
  • $19,260 – Average annual income for child care workers in Oklahoma.
  • 54 – Average age of Oklahoma state legislators.
  • 1.2% – Percent change in monthly food stamp participation in Oklahoma, Aug. 2014 – Aug. 2015. Oklahoma was one of 10 states where participation increased over the time period.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • To understand climbing death rates among white Americans, look to women [Urban Institute].
  • Here’s how states can reduce tax incentive risks and avoid budgetary surprises [Pew Charitable Trusts]. 
  • What happens when instead of suspensions, kids talk out their mistakes? [Hechinger Report].
  • One factor in explaining population shifts? Major industries, from tourism to manufacturing [Governing].
  • Malnutrition in seniors is surprisingly common – and new efforts are underway to fight it [WBUR].


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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