The Weekly Wonk: September 14, 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 released an online database and factsheets with key demographic, economic, and social indicators for each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. The Chickasha Express-Star reported on what this data says about Grady County.

We featured a guest post from tax specialist Michelle Cantrell on the possible consequences of State Question 766. You can see updated info on all of the items on the ballot this November at our 2012 State Questions page.

Also this week, OK Policy examined newly released Census data which shows that poverty has held steady, but the number of young people without health insurance has fallen significantly due to new protections under the Affordable Care Act. We examined how much could really be saved by consolidating school districts.

OK Policy Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column shares the untold story of the federal stimulus bill.  The Enid News and Eagle cited us in a story on incoming House Speaker T.W. Shannon’s study of what coming federal budget cuts could mean for Oklahoma. The Oklahoman responded to a report we shared showing that Oklahoma’s per pupil spending has plummeted since 2008.

Policy Notes

Quotes of the Week

  • This problem has not gone away. It’s not going to go away. There are always going to be children who are abused or neglected that need our help. We, in turn, need the community’s help to serve these children. –Sheree Powell, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, speaking about an Oklahoma City children’s shelter that continues to operate at near capacity without enough foster families to house the children.
  • We don’t believe in individual freedom to the extent of letting people make poor health decisions and just wither away without help. –OKC Mayor Mick Cornett, who is using Affordable Care Act funds for a variety of public health projects.
  • If Congress fails to act, we invite Oklahoma policymakers to join other states in challenging online retailers to create a fair playing field for local businesses. Fairness and sound tax policy aren’t just for the real world — they should apply in the virtual world as well –Former Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry and former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, writing in NewsOK about poorly enforced taxation of online purchases that is putting local retailers at a disadvantage.
  • I was trying to cope with it, my blood pressure was 210 over 160, I didn’t have insurance or anything, no medication.  It has saved my life, my prayers were answered when Michael Bailey walked into the store that day. –Terri Long, a woman who learned about free screenings, doctor visits, and Rx drugs for heart disease from a health department worker who’s been canvassing Oklahoma City’s poorest neighborhoods; the “My Heart, My Health, My Family” program was created by the Affordable Care Act.
  • Tax credits are some of the biggest sacred cows in Oklahoma as we learned last spring. And it is time for this committee to begin slaying some sacred cows. –Rep. David Dank, to a special House committee formed to review corporate tax credits and incentives.


Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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