The Weekly Wonk: Medicaid marijuana won’t fix the budget, Sonya’s story as a child of incarcerated parents, and 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.

The Weekly Wonk will be taking a break until the New Year. See you in 2017! 

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This Week from OK Policy

This week on the OK Policy Blog, Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler argued that medical marijuana won’t solve Oklahoma’s budget problems. Intern Chelsea Fiedler told the story of a young women who grew up with incarcerated parents. In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt warned of further triggered tax cuts. Last year, he explained how a triggered tax cut took effect the week after a revenue failure prompted across-the-board budget cuts. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update introduced the new House leadership team

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Gene Perry spoke to NewsOK about how laws aimed at undocumented immigrants can affect their American-born children. The Tax Justice Blog highlighted an OK Policy blog post by Blatt on ill-timed income tax cuts. KNWA covered the Northwest Arkansas Pre-Legislative Summit organized by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, where Blatt warned Arkansas against following Oklahoma’s fiscal path in the keynote address. 

Upcoming Opportunities

  • Join us for our 2017 State Budget Summit! On Thursday, January 26th, we’ll bring together all those with an interest in state policy issues for a day of thoughtful discussion and exchange of ideas aimed at understanding the challenges we now face and charting a course for a more prosperous future. The special early-bird registration price of just $75 is available through January 5th. Click here to register. The cost as of January 6th is $90.
  • We’re hiring! We’re looking for a policy analyst to produce research and organize campaigns around economic security for low- and moderate-income Oklahomans. Skills designing reports and infographics are also highly desired for this position. We’re also seeking part-time, paid research interns for the spring semester. Interns’ work will involve assisting OK Policy staff members as well as conducting independent policy research under guidance of staff. Applications are accepted through December 29th. Learn more here.

Weekly What’s That

Individual mandate

An individual mandate is a requirement that all persons procure a particular good or service. In health care, it refers to the requirement within the Affordable Care Act that all Americans (with some exceptions) be covered by health insurance. The Supreme Court upheld the ACA’s individual mandate in 2012. Read more here.

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

Quote of the Week

“It would take about $300 million to fund a $5,000 raise and that’s going to take some form of new revenue. A plan is just rhetoric until it includes an actual way to fund it.”

-Amber England, Executive Director of Stand for Children Oklahoma, who said she has heard lots of support for a teacher pay raise, but not as many details about how to do it (Source).

Editorial of the Week

Arnold Hamilton, The Journal Record

We may never know how much taxpayer money is wasted defending clearly unconstitutional legislation – the legal bill is hidden in the attorney general’s budget.

This much is certain: Facing another half-billion-dollar budget hole next year, Oklahoma cannot afford to squander so much as a dime. Nor can it afford to let a small cadre of silk-stocking interests destroy an independent judiciary that served the state well for half a century.

Numbers of the Day

  • $412 million – How much Oklahoma’s FY 2018 general revenue could be below FY 2015 while still being enough to trigger another tax cut under a bill passed in 2014
  • 78.3% – Percent Oklahoma women made in weekly earnings when compared to their male counterparts in 2014
  • 11 – Number of Oklahoma children per 1,000 who were living in foster care in 2013, the highest rate in the US (tied with West Virginia)
  • 98 – Number of fatal occupational injuries in Oklahoma in 2014\
  • 103,055 – Number of credit hours Oklahoma high school students were enrolled in concurrent college classes, 2014

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading


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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