Weekly Wonk: March 31, 2013

 The 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.

An op-ed by policy analyst Tiece Dempsey was published in the Tulsa World discussing why we can’t afford to reject federal dollars to expand healthcare coverage. The Oklahoman editorial board agreed with OK Policy criminal justice reform recommendations aimed at improving a system in crisis, while maintaining a fiscally responsible state budget. Policy analyst Gene Perry’s work was mentioned in Think Progress’ blog regarding Oklahoma’s push to cut income taxes. David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed how the federal government is showing new flexibility in finding ways to extend health care coverage to low-income adults.

focus-on-educationThe OK Policy Blog explains why two bills that would restrict the amount of bond debt that Oklahoma can take on are unnecessary and could actually make it more expensive. We also shared on our blog a video of civil rights attorney Michelle Alexander’s powerful presentation at the University of Tulsa about mass incarceration and social injustice. Kathy McKean guest blogged concerning a new report that examines 30 years of education reform efforts in Oklahoma. Our blog also discussed Oklahoma’s continued opposition to implementing the Affordable Care Act and the upcoming Oklahoma League of Women Voters “FOCU$ on Education!” panel discussion.

Policy Notes

Numbers of the Day

  • 8.5 percent – Percentage of Oklahomans with a felony conviction, 2011
  • $4.9 million – Amount the state is slated to lose in public education funds under federal ‘sequestration’ budget cuts, the cost of educating 13,000 young Oklahomans
  • 45,002 – Number of low-income households without public housing/rental assistance who pay more than half of their income each month in gross rent, 10 percent of Oklahoma’s renters in 2011
  • 14.7 percent – Percentage increase in the number of murders committed in Oklahoma from 2010 to 2011



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