Weekly Wonk May 5, 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.

OK Policy released a statement that the income tax cut ignores economic reality, and the only responsible path forward is to take real action to rein in unnecessary tax breaks. Our Executive Director, David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed why the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves is still widely and roundly discredited. David was also quoted in The Ada News article covering an Education Forum focused on school finance and in the Muskogee Phoenix discussing the results of poll showing that Oklahoma voters opposed a tax cut when it affects core services. The Journal Record’s People on the Move highlighted OK Policy’s new board members John Feaver and Ann-Clore Duncan. OK Policy was also mentioned in an article by the Oklahoman Editorial board discussing the income tax debate.


On our blog we wrote that an overhaul of the state pension system unveiled at the last minute without careful vetting by legislators and the public is unlikely to yield good policy. We also noted that, Oklahoma could face an unexpected budget hole of more than $400 million due to a court case challenging Oklahoma’s treatment of capital gains and highlighted a new poll we commissioned showing that most Oklahoma voters oppose a proposed tax cut after learning what it would do. Lastly, we responded to legislators‘ criticism of a recent lecture on racial disparities in access to opportunity given by our policy analyst Kate Richey.


Numbers of the Day

  • $880,000 – Amount of funding the federal ‘sequestration’ budget cuts will take annually from substance abuse treatment and prevention in Oklahoma, resulting in about 800 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs
  • 3rd – Oklahoma’s rank nationally for the percentage of seniors (>65 years) living with a disability, 43 percent of the state’s seniors, 2010
  • 56 percent – Percentage of registered voters in Oklahoma that oppose an income tax cut that reduces revenue for public education, public safety and health care
  • 31.9% – Growth in the number of women-owned firms in Oklahoma over the last 15 years, slower than 41 other states during the same period and compared to 54.1% nationally
  • 37,345 – Number of Oklahomans who walk or use public transit to get to work – 81 percent of them earn less than $35,000 a year

Policy Notes

  • The New Republic explained why even though the initial adjustment to the Affordable Care Act may not be easy, it will still do a lot of good and make life better for most people.


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