The Weekly Wonk: Medicaid cut won’t pass federal muster; when Oklahomans can’t legally drive; & more…

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

On the OK Policy Blog, a guest post from Jesse Cross-Call of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained why Oklahoma’s proposed Medicaid cut won’t pass federal muster. We’ve written previously that the proposed cut should be unthinkable. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis said that Health Department cuts mean increased disease and risk of death

OK Policy intern Ethan Rex explored what happens when formerly-incarcerated Oklahomans can’t get driver’s licenses. Executive Director David Blatt wondered if this will be the year Oklahoma takes action to stop losing millions in unpaid online sales taxes. In his Journal Record column, Blatt wrote that we’re nearly halfway through the legislative session with no answer to the budget emergency in sight

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Gene Perry spoke to Studio Tulsa about bills moving forward in the state legislature. Former Governor David Walters used OK Policy charts while arguing that partisan ideology is taking its toll on the budget. Rep. Mark Lepak (R-Claremore) cited OK Policy in his House review in the Claremore Progress, and  Sen. J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso) quoted OK Policy on teacher pay in his Senate review in the Tulsa World (the piece he referred to is available here). 

ATTN College Students: Apply for the 2016 Summer Policy Institute

We are now accepting applications from undergrad and graduate students for our fourth Summer Policy Institute (SPI)! SPI brings together highly-qualified college students from across the state from July 31 to August 3 for a unique opportunity to become better informed about vital Oklahoma policy issues, network with fellow students and leaders in the policy process, and prepare for their future studies and work in public policy-related fields. Learn more and apply here

Weekly What’s That

Corporate Income Tax

Oklahoma’s corporate income tax is set at a flat rate of 6 percent of taxable income. The tax is based on a three-part formula that looks at the portions of a company’s sales, property and payroll that is based in Oklahoma. The corporate income tax generated $443 million in fiscal year 2012, which was 5.3 percent of total state tax collections. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“We can’t strike. What are we going to do, wheel our clients to the Capitol doors and walk away? I don’t even know how to fight this. We have no recourse.”

– Mary Ogle, Executive Director of A New Leaf, an agency that provides residential and employment services for 239 clients with disabilities. A 3 percent cut in state aid to A New Leaf means $160,000 less per year (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Keith Ballard, The Tulsa World

Enough is enough. The Oklahoma Legislature should immediately drop the silly notion of vouchers and turn their attention to serious matters facing our state. An earlier 3 percent cut was devastating; the additional 4 percent cut recently announced is almost intolerable.

Despite predictions otherwise, the voucher program will further devastate school budgets. It will withdraw dollars and send them to private schools and other private education entities. It’s disingenuous to pretend schools will be held harmless or even enjoy a financial boost because of vouchers. Rather, it will have an impact on the overall funding for Oklahoma schools, and obligations will still exist.

Numbers of the Day

  • 1.67 – Self-reported number of vegetables consumed by Oklahoman adults in an average day, third lowest in the nation
  • 96.7% – Percentage of days ozone was within federal standards in Oklahoma in 2014
  • 13.1% – Percent of Oklahoma households that used high-cost, high-risk forms of credit (such as payday loans) to make ends meet in 2013, the highest in the nation
  • 28,328 – Total state prison population in Oklahoma in 2014
  • 31.22% – Percent of Oklahoma students in high-poverty schools, where more than 75% of students qualified for free- or reduced-price lunches, in 2014, 8th highest in the nation

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • New immigrants may be assimilating a lot faster than than we had ever thought [Washington Post].
  • 6 proven policies for reducing crime and violence without gun control [Vox].
  • Texas prisons are filling up with the old and the ill — at enormous expense [Texas Observer].
  • Disparity in the Life Spans of the Rich and the Poor is Growing [The New York Times].
  • Partnered But Poor [Center for American Progress].


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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