Weekly Wonk January 12, 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 Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

While tickets to our state budget summit on Thursday, January 16 have sold out, limited spaces are still open for that afternoon’s Advocacy Training session! Together Oklahoma will share its top three priorities for the coming session and participants will engage in a hands-on workshop focused on mobilizing for fair and adequate funding of public services. Cost for the Advocacy Training is $10. You can click here to reserve your place. 

On the OK Policy Blog, Executive Director David Blatt discussed how forecasted revenue shortfalls will lead to difficult choices. He also noted that horizontal drilling tax breaks have now topped $300 million. Blatt was quoted on the topic in the Tulsa World and StateImpact. We’ve made the case for curbing those tax breaks before. We argued that claims that the Affordable Care Act is killing jobs are over-hyped and ignore that the law is good for business.  A guest post in our Neglected Oklahoma series examined the plight of fast-food workers. Other posts in the series can be found here.

In Oklahoma Watch, Policy Director Gene Perry argued that we must stay committed to the War on Poverty. Blatt wrote in his Journal Record column that there seem to be only two kinds of years at the Oklahoma Capitol — budget shortfall years and tax cut years – and that neither likely involves a needed discussion of funding vital public services. 

Numbers of the Day

  • 10,833 – The number of foreclosures completed in Oklahoma in the last twelve months, up 18.6% from 9,132 foreclosures during the same period last year
  • 22.6 percent – The poverty rate in Southeast Oklahoma, where President Obama is creating a “Promise Zone” in partnership with the Choctaw Nation to focus resources on improving life in chronically poor areas
  • $170 million – How much less is expected to be available for state appropriations in FY 2015 compared to FY 2014
  • 2,350 – Decrease in the number of jobs in Oklahoma over the past 12 months
  • 6th – Oklahoma’s rank nationally for wheat exports; the state grew and exported over 400 million dollars worth of wheat in 2012
Policy Notes 
  • Moyers & Company has compiled Inequality: An Essential Reader.
  • Examining the impact of food snap benefits on the health of recipients, The Incidental Economist notes that health policy isn’t always about healthcare.
  • The Center for  American Progress has a report examining fifty years of the War on Poverty.
  • Theda Skocpol finds that the Affordable Care Act is working well where state-level officials are pitching in to help – and lagging where they are engaged in obstruction.
  • The Economic Policy Institute discusses the impact of 4.5 million workers receiving higher pay this year due to rising minimum wages in thirteen states.


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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