End of Session Round-Up: Missed opportunities to improve financial security

We told you in February that the Legislature would have several opportunities to improve the lives of hard-working Oklahomans and their families. Unfortunately, only a few of these measures passed. [More...]

How we measure poverty matters — and a proposed change would make it worse

Last year, 621,076 Oklahomans were living in poverty according to official estimates - that's 15.8 percent, or one out of every six, of us. The Trump Administration has recently proposed a plan to adjust the way we measure poverty, but these changes would not make the measure more accurate. [More...]

Women still earn less than men, and it’s putting them at risk of living in poverty

Poverty in Oklahoma is consistently above the national average, but what you may not have noticed is the fact that women are more likely to experience poverty than men. Seventeen percent of women in Oklahoma live below the poverty line, compared to just 14.5 percent of men. In a time when families depend more than ever on women's wages, this is a troubling trend. [More...]

OKPolicyCast 47: Homeless and a friend (with Tyler Parette)

This episode of the OKPolicyCast was hosted and produced by Gene Perry. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you… Read more [More...]

Restoring the EITC is good for Oklahomans’ health

There is a good chance you know someone struggling to make ends meet. People who struggle to pay for health care have higher risks of heart attacks, obesity, and depression. One way to help Oklahomans meet their basic needs and stay healthy is by restoring an effective and bipartisan anti-poverty measure --the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). [More...]

Occupational licenses could soon be within reach for more Oklahomans

Nearly 30 percent of the American workforce needs a license to do their job, so we should carefully examine the rules about who can, and can’t, get an occupational license. This is especially important for the justice-involved, a group that faces multiple barriers (including licensing restrictions) to employment and economic stability.  [More...]

Joint Statement: Installment loan bill needs improvement to protect Oklahomans from financial harm

For Immediate Release Oklahoma Policy Institute along with a coalition of Oklahoma organizations and individuals released this joint statement on a bill that would allow a new high-cost lending product in Oklahoma: Last month, the Oklahoma Senate passed a bill,… Read more [More...]

Rules to protect payday loan customers are under attack…again

In the fall of 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued new rules to protect payday loan customers from some of the most harmful practices in that industry. But now the same federal agency that issued the rule has announced plans to scrap important provisions of it, leaving many consumers unprotected. The good news is that this proposal to roll back the payday rule is still just a proposal. Before this proposal can be finalized, the agency must first allow for public comments, and you can easily submit one. [More...]

Restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit is a must this session

In Oklahoma’s tax code, there are multiple tax breaks for high-income individuals and businesses. But just three tax credits are targeted at low-income Oklahomans, and one of those -  the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – was slashed in 2016 to help balance the books during a severe budget crisis. This cut resulted in more than 200,000 Oklahoma families losing some, or all, of the value of their EITC. Statewide, low and middle-income working families lost nearly $28 million due to the cut. That’s an average of $121 per family, and many low-wage families lost even more. [More...]

Money matters for child development. Healthier finances means a healthier future for children in Oklahoma.

Policies that support low-income families improve the well-being of children. Policymakers have a number of options for improving economic prospects for Oklahoma’s working families and in turn improving health - including their mental health. Two practical changes are to restore the refundability of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and increase the minimum wage. Both of these policy changes would provide more economic stability for families, reducing the risk of childhood trauma and poor mental health outcomes that stem from these adverse experiences. Improving the financial well-being of families creates healthier and economically thriving communities. [More...]