The Weekly Wonk: New fees and fines report, partial progress, 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.

This Week from OK Policy

This week, we released a report by Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler detailing how fees and fines trap Oklahomans in the criminal justice system without increasing state revenues. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis noted that Senate Republicans’ Legislative agenda yields little detail on how to accomplish their aims. Executive Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column argued that if state leaders don’t consider the role income tax cuts have played in our budget crisis, they’ll only make partial progress in solving the problem.

OK Policy in the News

KOCO and KFOR reported on the press conference announcing our new fees and fines report. The Norman Transcript covered a Together Oklahoma Legislative 101 forum led by Outreach and Legislative Liaison Bailey Perkins. Learn more about getting involved with Together Oklahoma here. Writing in Mother Jones, author Rick Perlstein cited OK Policy data in an article about why a student chose to vote for President Trump. 

Weekly What’s That

Quality Jobs Program

The Quality Jobs program is a state tax incentive program that provides a quarterly cash payment to qualified companies of up to 5 percent of new taxable payroll. The incentive targets manufacturers and certain other industries that have a new payroll investment of $2.5 million or more, with a lower payroll threshold for certain industries and for companies located in targeted areas. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“We can’t afford to keep doing the things we’ve been doing in this state.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin, explaining why she’ll announce a major overhaul of the state’s tax system (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Board, The Oklahoman

On Valentine’s Day this year, Oklahoma City voters will decide who they want to lead the Oklahoma City school board, and choose two other individual members of that board along with the representatives of four city council wards. More accurately, a small sliver of voters is likely to make these important choices. Unfortunately, turnout is generally quite low for municipal and school board elections, despite candidates’ efforts to get people to vote

Numbers of the Day

  • 113 – Number on international students studying at the University of Oklahoma who come from one of the countries included in the Trump Administration’s ban on immigrants coming to the U.S.
  • 51% – The percentage of all pregnancies in Oklahoma that were unplanned, above the US average of 45% (2010)
  • 13% – Percentage of Oklahoma children living in high-poverty areas (2010-2014), up from 11% (2006-2010)
  • 65,788 – Number of Oklahoma Medicare beneficiaries who benefited from provisions of the Affordable Care Act closing the Medicare Part D “donut hole” in 2015
  • 422 – Violent crimes per 100,00 of the population in Oklahoma in 2016

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Past Due: Examining the Costs and Consequences of Charging for Justice in New Orleans: [Vera Institute of Justice]
  • What Will the Trump Administration Mean for People With Disabilities? [Slate]
  • Will States Stop Cities From Combating Climate Change? [Governing]
  • Do high-deductible plans make the health care system better? [Marketplace]
  • Starting Strong: How to Improve Teachers’ Entry into the Profession [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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