The Weekly Wonk: Oil and gas tax breaks cost the state almost $400 million this year

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 is the last Weekly Wonk of 2017!  We’ll be taking a break for the holidays and will return on January 7th.

This Week from OK Policy

Executive Director David Blatt broke down the cost of tax breaks for the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma – they’ve cost the state almost $400 million this year. Blatt also reminded us that hunger is all around us this holiday season. Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler uncovered a spike in arrests for marijuana possession in Oklahoma last year and wondered what’s behind it.

OK Policy in the News

Executive Director David Blatt spoke with Public Radio Tulsa about oil and gas tax breaks – Oklahoma’s effective tax rate is still lagging behind fellow oil states Texas and North Dakota and that’s costing the state needed revenue.

Upcoming Opportunities

Join us for our 2018 State Budget Summit! On Thursday, January 25th, we’ll bring together all those with an interest in state policy issues for a day of thoughtful discussion and an 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 12th. Click here to register. The cost as of January 13th is $90.

Weekly What’s That

Ad Valorem Tax

Property tax, also known as ad valorem tax, is an annual tax paid by property owners to local government, and are the single largest source of local government revenue. Oklahoma’s per person property taxes are among the lowest in the nation and less than half the national average. To read more about how property taxes are calculated, click here.

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

Quote of the Week

“We have balanced our budget by using one-time funds, revolving funds, raiding various cash funds, Rainy Day funds, to the point that we can’t do that any longer. It’s becoming a crisis in the state of Oklahoma.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Board, The Oklahoman

The idea of “justice for all” is just that for too many Oklahomans — an idea, and not a bedrock certainty as declared in our Pledge of Allegiance. That bedrock often turns to sand for the state’s poor. Evidence of this is reflected in an assessment conducted for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission. “In sum, the clients who responded to the survey are a very disadvantaged group of people and most of them would find it impossible to afford legal services for which they had to pay,” researchers said.

Numbers of the Day

  • 20.3 per 100,000 – Rate of drug deaths in Oklahoma in 2017, 10th highest in the US
  • 82.6% – Percentage of Oklahoma workers who drove alone to work in 2016, higher than the national average of 76.4%
  • 84 per 1,000 – Arrest rate for black Oklahoma youth in 2014. The rate for white youth was 28 per 1,000
  • 382.7 – Number of mental health providers per 100,000 population in Oklahoma, 5th highest in the US in 2017
  • $121,300 – Median value of owner-occupied homes in Oklahoma in 2016

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • How sexism and old-fashioned ideals hurt child care operators [The Hechinger Report]
  • How Dollar General Became Rural America’s Store of Choice [The Wall Street Journal]
  • How Effective Is Your School District? A New Measure Shows Where Students Learn the Most [New York Times]
  • These are the people who would lose under Medicaid work requirements [Vox]
  • Undervalued: A Brief History of Women’s Care Work and Child Care Policy in the United States [National Women’s Law Center]


Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.