The Weekly Wonk: A leader in managing volatile revenue; watch out for wasteful tax giveaways; & more

the_weekly_wonk_logoWhat’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.

This Week from OK Policy

This week, a guest post from senior associates at the Pew Charitable Trusts described how Oklahoma is becoming a leader at managing volatile revenue. Policy Director Gene Perry warned of help for “small business” disguising wasteful tax giveaways. A post in our Neglected Oklahoma series explored conditions in state prisons. You can find the rest of our Neglected Oklahoma series here.

Executive Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column noted that Oklahomans have a long history of affirming State Questions. Blatt previously explored the topic in greater detail on the OK Policy Blog. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis wrote that Oklahoma begin repealing its Bill of Rights by affirming SQ 790, which would allow public resources to be used for religious purposes. Our fact sheet on SQ 790 is available here

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Gene Perry appeared on PBS News Hour to talk about state cuts to education funding and the teachers who are running for office in response. Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler spoke at an interim hearing on fees and fines covered by Oklahoma Watch. Author Tamara Draut, who appeared at OK Policy events in Tulsa and Oklahoma City this week, was interviewed by NonDoc in advance of those events.

Upcoming Opportunities

Time is running out to register for FallPol! This week, we’ll be hosting two Fall Policy Boot Camps (FallPol), one-day policy trainings on the state budget, criminal justice reform, poverty, and other critical policy issues affecting our state. FallPol Tulsa will be held at OSU-Tulsa on Friday, October 14, and FallPol Edmond will be held at Oklahoma Christian University on Saturday, October 15. The registration deadline is October 12. You can view agendas and purchase tickets here.

Weekly What’s That

Oklahoma Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is a state agency that administers a range of programs aimed at helping Oklahomans in need, including food benefits (SNAP); temporary cash assistance (TANF); services for persons with developmental disabilities and persons who are aging; adult protective services; child welfare programs; child support services; child care assistance, licensing and monitoring; and SoonerCare applications and eligibility. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“At the end of the day, what we’ve found, is they don’t stay very long. So, there’s a big investment over a short period of time to help them be a teacher, and most of them leave the profession or leave that district.”

– Shawn Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, arguing that emergency teacher certifications end up costing districts because they pay for intensive training (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools President Mary Mélon, NewsOK

If there is one constant in the world, it is that things change. Our schools are not the same as they used to be. The demographics of our city have evolved and the demographics in Oklahoma City Public Schools have changed in similar fashion. The current demographic makeup of OKCPS students are: 51 percent Hispanic, 24 percent African American, 16 percent Caucasian, three percent Native American and two percent Asian. With 90 percent of our students qualifying for free and reduced lunches (meaning they live at or below the poverty line) our schools are under tremendous pressure to meet additional needs of not only our students, but their families. Poverty and the stresses of the working poor are in our city. It may not be visible from a commute downtown on I-235, but it is there.

Numbers of the Day

  • 10% – Percentage of Oklahoma children ages 0 to 5 whose parents reported that their employment was affected by child care issues
  • 11% – Percent of Oklahoma children 12-17 who reported use of any tobacco product in 2013-2014, second highest in the nation
  • 41% – Percentage of Oklahoma road mileage that is gravel
  • 371 – Number of Oklahoma public school students subjected to seclusion 2011-2012, 275 of whom were male
  • 8 in 10 – Oklahoma LGBTQ+ public school students who reported experiencing verbal harassment in 2013

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

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.

Leave a Reply

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