The Weekly Wonk: Some large U.S. companies still pay no income tax, looking ahead to Oklahoma’s budget, and more

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk 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.

Happy Holidays!

‘The Weekly Wonk will be on hiatus until January 12, 2020 while our staff takes time off for the holidays. If you enjoy reading these weekly updates, we encourage you to make an online donation to support our mission.

Happy Holidays from the OK Policy team!

This Week from OK Policy

The 2017 federal tax law included a major restructuring of our corporate tax laws that dropped the legal tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) shows that under the new law, some of America’s biggest and most profitable corporations paid $0.00 in federal income taxes on U.S. income in 2018. 

In her weekly Journal Record column, Executive Director Ahniwake Rose encouraged those who are considering charitable year-end giving to align gifts with their personal values when they give to their communities. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update expressed disappointment in the absence of sentencing reform in the recommendations made by the Criminal Justice Reclassification Council.

OK Policy also commented on the initial budget numbers coming from Friday’s Board of Equalization meeting, noting state lawmakers should continue the progress made during the past two years when it reinvested new revenue into state programs and services.

OK Policy in the News

The Oklahoman cited OK Policy in a story about new Census data showing Oklahoma’s poverty rate slightly declined in 2018, while the Norman Transcript cited OK Policy in a story about property taxes. 

Weekly What’s That

Revenue estimate, what’s that?

Oklahoma makes official revenue estimates that determine how much the Legislature is allowed to appropriate in its annual budget for state agencies. The Legislature is limited to appropriating no more than 95 percent of certified collections. Revenue estimates are certified three times each year. Learn more about revenue estimates.

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

Quote of the Week

“Poverty can affect our students before they even walk in the door. But poverty is not an indicator of ability. It just means that you may need different supports. … Poverty affects people in a multitude of ways, but it is not an indicator of who you can be and who you can grow into. But it is a factor.”

-Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association speaking about new Census data about poverty in the state [The Oklahoman]

Editorial of the Week

Wayne Greene: Medicaid expansion is the deal of the century, but Oklahoma keeps saying no

“Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion in Montana also reduced crime, improved health and lowered debt, the report found. The number of poor Montanans in excellent health went up while debt collections and bankruptcies went down. One study cited in the report shows that Medicaid expansion reduced medical debt by $900 per treated person and prevented 50,000 bankruptcies in the state.” [Wayne Greene / Tulsa World]

Numbers of the Day

  • 12 – The number of states including Oklahoma where at least half of all public schools are rural. The other states are Montana, South Dakota, Vermont, North Dakota, Maine, Alaska, Nebraska, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Mississippi.
  • 66,000 – Number of children in Oklahoma age 0-3 who received SNAP food benefits to support good health and food security. SNAP is the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • 62,518 – Number of children in Oklahoma who received healthy meals and snacks on an average workday in child care participating in CACFP. CACFP is the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program.
  • 3 – The number of states, including Oklahoma, that have the most racially diverse rural school districts in the country. The other two are Delaware and North Carolina.
  • 200,000 – Approximate number of students in Oklahoma’s rural districts who rank among the most diverse in the nation in terms of race, specialized needs, poverty, and residential instability.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Turns out that feeding people might help them not die. [HuffPost]
  • In just two states, all prisoners can vote. Here’s why few do. [The Marshall Project]
  • Mitigation Matters: Policy solutions to reduce local flood risk. [Pew Trusts]
  • Corporate tax avoidance in the first year of the 2017 tax cuts [ITEP]
  • How far can cities go to police the homeless? Boise tests the limit. [New York Times]


Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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