The Weekly Wonk: Legislature will likely avoid doomsday, but won’t address chronic budget problems

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

With the clock ticking on special session, Executive Director David Blatt posited that the most likely outcome will be a budget that averts a doomsday crisis of cuts but does nothing to addresss Oklahoma’s chronic budget problems. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update pointed out that most Oklahomans have been left guessing by the happenings thus far in this special session. A guest post by Shelley Cadamy explained one of the many consequences of the state budget crisis – cuts to support for adoptive parents.  High turnover among state workers is yet another consequence – as Blatt pointed out, the average pay of our state workers is now 24% below the competitive labor market and most state employees have not seen a pay increase in 10 years.

Blatt’s Journal Record column implored federal lawmakers to stop sabotaging the Affordable Care Act and allow the program to work.  For those who buy insurance coverage through the ACA, open enrollment for 2018 has begun.  Intern Lydia Lapidus walked us through the process of enrolling and pointed out some helpful resources for those needing help to make sure they’re covered next year.

Advocacy Alert

The legislature is still in special session and they still need to hear from you – revenues must be raised in order to adequately fund core services. Click here to see our Advocacy Alert and to find your legislators and to get more information. You can also check out our Special Session FAQs for updated information about what’s happening during the special session.

Upcoming Opportunities

We’re excited to announce the release of a new book from Oklahoma Policy Institute! Neglected Oklahoma: Voices from the Margins is a collection of nineteen essays written for the OK Policy Blog over four years by Oklahoma City writer and social justice advocate Camille Landry. Join us for the OKC release party on Nov. 7th, 6:30 pm, at Full Circle Bookstore (RSVP here), or the Tulsa release party on Nov. 29th, 6:30 pm, at Bound for Glory Books (RSVP here). 

Weekly What’s That

Supplemental Appropriation

A supplemental appropriation is funding approved by the Legislature in the middle of a fiscal year, in addition to funds already provided in that year’s initial state budget. Supplemental appropriations generally are made to cover emergencies or unanticipated mid-year budget shortfalls within an agency or other government entity.

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

Quote of the Week

“I thought that the scariest things that would happen to Henry were his congenital heart diagnosis and a brain injury. But it turns out the most frightening thing in Henry’s life is the state government.”

– Erin Taylor, whose son Henry was born with a complex congenital heart condition, on the potential impacts of cuts to DHS (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Joe Dorman, NonDoc

Great communities can overcome great obstacles — and I believe Oklahoma is great — but first we need to recognize some hard truths. That starts with understanding that a significant portion of our minority and immigrant families face challenges that would be rightly defined as “crises” if they were affecting our majority white population on the same scale.

Numbers of the Day

  • 96 – Deaths in Oklahoma prisons in calendar year 2016
  • 22.2% – Percentage of Oklahoma prison inmates held in private prisons as of October 2017
  • $623 – State and local property tax collections per capita in Oklahoma, 49th in the US
  • 33.8% – Percentage of children ages 10-17 in Oklahoma who are overweight or obese, 11th highest in the US in 2016
  • 24% – How much Oklahoma state employee salaries are below the salaries for comparable jobs in the private sector and other states, 2016.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Local income taxes were once blamed for causing businesses to flee to the suburbs. Not anymore. [Governing]
  • The Fight to Fix America’s Broken Bail System [Governing]
  • The New Reality of Old Age in America [Washington Post]
  • America Can’t Fix Poverty Until It Stops Hating Poor People[CityLab]
  • Somebody Lied: Education Alone Can’t Dismantle White Supremacy [The Root]


Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

One thought on “The Weekly Wonk: Legislature will likely avoid doomsday, but won’t address chronic budget problems

  1. I am a disabled American on a very limited income. Only Social Security. I rely on State programS to help me through the month. PLEASE FIGURE OUT THIS BUDGET PROBLEM OR I WILL HAVE TO MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE.

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