The Weekly Wonk August 17, 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, we explained that tobacco tax revenue declined last year, and why that was (mostly) good news. A guest blog post argued that Kansas’s recent downgraded credit rating is well-deserved. OK Policy is accepting applications for fall interns and research fellows – you can find out more and apply here.

The OK PolicyCast this week featured a discussion of this week’s headlines and highlights from the education panel from our Summer Policy Institute. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt shared the legacy of former Oklahoma governor and state senator Henry Bellmon. We had previously honored Gov. Bellmon with the 2014 Good Sense/Good Cents award. The Tulsa World described the event here. In our Editorial of the Week, the editor of blog The Lost Ogle explains why the blog is continuing its lawsuit against Gov. Fallin regarding documents withheld from an open records request.

Quote of the week:

“I do not like the direction this is going…we sound like we agree with seceding from the union. It is obstructionist. It is not constructive or productive – it is just sour grapes. It is not leading, it is taking the easy way out. And it is does not acknowledge the facts.”

– Katie Altshuler, Gov. Fallin’s Policy Director, in an email to the Governor’s Chief of Staff discussing whether the state should create Oklahoma’s health insurance exchange. The email was part of a trove of documents ordered released on Monday following a lawsuit over their release (Source:

Numbers of the day:

  • $549.33 – Financial aid grant dollars per undergraduate student provided by the State of Oklahoma during the 2011-12 academic year. Oklahoma ranks 24th in the nation for state grant dollars per student.
  • 2308 – Total number of adult Oklahomans who received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families payments (commonly known as “welfare”) in May 2014.
  • 28.3% – Percentage of Oklahomans reporting no physical activity. The national average is 22.9%.
  • $61,178 – Average household income in Oklahoma in 2013.
  • 71,245 MWh – Net annual energy savings from Oklahoma utility PSO’s energy efficiency programs in 2013, enough to power about 6,500 homes for a year.

What we’re reading:


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.

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