The Weekly Wonk – September 30, 2011

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 suggested three reforms to modernize Oklahoma’s income tax.  We also challenged a plan by the governor’s task force on economic development to eliminate the income tax, because there is little evidence that income tax cuts lead to economic growth when the only alternatives are heavier sales and property taxes and budget cuts.  KRMG quoted OK Policy director David Blatt in an article responding to the task force’s recommendations.

Also this week, our director addressed the utility of gross production tax breaks before a legislative committee evaluating state tax credits.  We explained on our blog why tax breaks for oil and gas production are an unwise use of limited state tax dollars.  OK Policy’s Director was also quoted in a NewsOK article covering the hearing.

We featured a guest blog post from John Thompson, currently working on a book about his experience teaching in the inner city of OKC, on why education reform can only succeed if health care professionals and social workers are involved.  Finally, we posted an upcoming event – the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is hosting a Legislative Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the University of Central Oklahoma.

In the Know, Policy Notes

Numbers of the Week

  • 614,000 – The number of SNAP (food stamp) recipients in Oklahoma in July 2011, the highest average monthly participation in the history of the state.
  • 34 percent – Percentage of ACT-tested high school graduates in Oklahoma who were prepared for college-level course work in math in 2010, compared to 43 percent nationally.
  • 8th – Oklahoma’s rank nationally in number of acres of land in the state that’s used in farming; 35,200,000 acres in 2010.
  • 69.8 gallons – Amount of soft drinks purchased per capita in Oklahoma in 2010, 8th most in nation.
  • 694,992 – Number of Oklahomans without health insurance coverage in 2010.



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