Weekly Wonk April 20, 2014

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week on the OK Policy blog, discussed how Oklahoma’s lack of adequate budget planning is hurting our ability to plan for our future. In honor of Tax Day, we made a list of five things you should know about Oklahoma taxes. A new fact sheet shows investing in education is key for economic growth and job creation. We reported that Medicaid is on the chopping block, with potentially disastrous consequences. 

In his Journal Record column, OK Policy Executive Director David Blatt wrote that unless the state better protects its revenue base, Oklahoma legislators will continue to face choosing between funding schools or funding road repairs. Don Millican, the Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. CFO and an OK Policy board member, argued in the Tulsa World that Oklahoma is flying blind without any long-range fiscal planning for state budgets.

We are still accepting applications to our second annual Summer Policy Institute! The Institute will be held at the University of Tulsa August 3 – 6, and will feature panels and speakers representing a wide array of state policy issues. Participants will learn more about policy issues in the state, network with other students, community members and policymakers, and emerge better-prepared for further academic and professional careers. Applications are due May 30. 

Numbers of the Day

  • 56 – Number of candidates for the Oklahoma House and Senate who are running unopposed in 2014, out of 126 races.
  • $8.87 – The median hourly wage for food preparation and serving workers in Oklahoma City.
  • 48th – Oklahoma’s ranking out of all fifty states and the District of Columbia for the share of personal income going to state and local taxes in 2011.
  • $119.2 million – How much Oklahoma needs to increase funding for SoonerCare, Mental Health, and the Department of Human Services just to maintain existing services.
  • 48.3 percent – Percentage of Oklahoma adults making less than $15,000 a year who are limited in some activities because of a disability or mental illness, 2012.

Policy Notes

  • A report by the Pew Research Center examines how two big demographic transformations are changing America.
  • The Washington Post reports on new projections showing the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of insurance coverage will cost $104 billion less than projected over the next decade, and premiums will be cheaper than previously thought.
  • In honor of Tax Day, Brookings shares new data showing the impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on working families.
  • States are cracking down on for-profit colleges and the student loan industry, Stateline reports. 
  • The New Republic discusses how the latest enrollment numbers for Affordable Care Act marketplaces are very good news for health reform. 


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.