Weekly Wonk May 4, 2014


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 KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

On the OK Policy blog, we pointed out that a poll claiming to show Oklahomans oppose ending a tax break for horizontal drilling is not being transparent about its questions or methodology, and that opponents of accepting federal funds to extend health coverage to low-income Oklahomans aren’t telling the whole story. Oklahoma is losing millions annually to tax shelters, and we suggested some solutions.

We wrote that, contrary to Governor Fallin’s assertion, most Oklahoma minimum wage workers aren’t living their parents. A new law we discussed could leave too many workers ineligible for unemployment benefits through  no fault of their own.  We released a statement condemning a deal to expand tax breaks for oil and gas drilling.

MSNBC quoted Executive Director David Blatt in a profile of Gov. Fallin’s time in office.  Blatt was quoted in press coverage of an income tax cut Gov. Fallin signed into law. We’ve argued before that the tax cut will provide little benefit to most Oklahomans. Blatt also discussed education funding with Oklahoma Watch. In his Journal Record column, Blatt wrote that it’s time to get serious about reforming tax breaks in Oklahoma.

We are still accepting applications to our second annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI), a three-day crash course on Oklahoma’s policy landscape, featuring speakers and panels on a wide range of state policy issues for college students. Applications will be accepted through Friday, May 30th. Click here to apply.

Numbers of the Day

  • $44,373 – Average Oklahoma teacher salary in 2012-2013, 49th lowest out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • $13.25 – The hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent ($689/month) in Oklahoma working 40 hours a week.
  • $50 – $100 million – How much new revenue Oklahoma could bring in if the state adopted combined reporting, a reform that prevents corporations from shifting profits to out-of-state tax shelters.
  • 49th – Oklahoma’s ranking out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in a report analyzing health system performance.
  • 69,221 – How many Oklahomans signed up for health insurance on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace in the open enrollment period.

Policy Notes


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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