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

OK Policy released a poll Friday revealing that 67 percent of Oklahoma voters want lawmakers to pass a comprehensive revenue plan in special session that avoids further cuts and funds a teacher pay raise and other critical needs. Executive Director David Blatt, in a blog piece and his Journal Record column, reminded us that a good revenue plan must ensure that everyone pays their fair share – regressive taxes that place a heavy burden on low- and moderate-income families cannot be the bulk of our revenue plan. Policy Director Gene Perry shared with us two myths that are distorting the debate over education funding.

OK Policy in the News

The Lawton Constitution covered the Save Our State Coalition’s first community conversation last week  in Lawton – these conversations are designed to bring Oklahomans into the discussion of our budget crisis. Blatt spoke with KFOR about a recent report revealing that Oklahoma is losing an average of $90 million per year to a capital gains tax exemption.

Advocacy Alert

We’re starting week three of special session, and legislators still have not agreed on a revenue solution to the state budget crisis. They need to hear from you – revenues must be raised in order to adequately fund core services. Click here to see our Advocacy Alert to find your legislators and to get more information.

Upcoming Opportunities

The Save Our State Coalition will be hosting a community conversation in Stillwater on October 10th.  Join us for this important conversation about how to fix Oklahoma’s broken budget. Come and share ideas to ensure we are protecting the services Oklahoma families rely on every single day and hear from local educators and community members who’ve been impacted by the recent budget cuts. For more information about the event click here.

Weekly What’s That

Fiscal Year

A fiscal year (usually abbreviated ‘FY’) is the period used for calculating annual budgets. The state of Oklahoma’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Each fiscal year is named after the calendar year that it ends in. For example, Oklahoma’s fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) covers the period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

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

Quote of the Week

“Essentially, I’m crying ‘help’ and nobody’s listening. I think what we have here is a vacuum of leadership. Looking at the big picture, we have two choices here. We can either start very small and improve on this program … or they can give me more money and I can build a bunch of prisons and we just keep locking people up and throwing away the key.”

– State Corrections Department Director Joe Allbaugh (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Wayne Greene, Tulsa World

Three state agencies have started their doomsday planning. And the results should terrify everyone. “We’ve created a preventable humanitarian crisis,” Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers CEO Nico Gomez told me. “And we’re looking at it in 60 days.” Gov. Mary Fallin called the Oklahoma Legislature into special session to deal with a $215 million budget hole that opened after the Supreme Court nixed the state cigarette tax, but lawmakers accomplished nothing and then went into hibernation. They’re supposed to come back to the job next week, which offers some hope, but they need to act faster. This is not a problem that can wait for a solution. The revenue hole is in the budget that started on July 1 — 100 days ago.

Numbers of the Day

  • 24.6% – Percentage of Oklahomans with a four-year degree in 2015. The US average was 30.6%
  • 18.2% – Percentage of Oklahomans insured through Medicaid in 2016.
  • 21.4% – Percentage of Oklahomans served by the public mental health system who were employed, 2015
  • 35% – Increase in the number of women sent to prison from Oklahoma County between 2009 and 2016
  • 22.9% – Percentage of Oklahoma children in poverty in 2016, the 11th-highest rate in the U.S.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Will the Trump Era Transform the School Lunch? [New York Times]
  • Memo To Mayors Courting Amazon’s HQ2: Now’s The Time To Be Stingy And Smart [Fast Company]
  • What Older Americans Stand to Lose if ‘Dreamers’ Are Deported [New York Times]
  • Bail roulette: how the same minor crime can cost $250 or $10,000 [The Guardian]
  • Payday Lending Faces Tough New Restrictions by Consumer Agency [The New York Times]