The Weekly Wonk: “It’s the revenue, stupid,” no soldier left behind, 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 on the OK Policy Blog, Oklahoma State Treasurer Ken Miller argued that new revenues are the solution to the state’s budget crisis. We’ve previously presented reasonable revenue options for the budget emergency. OK Policy intern Cody Minyard explained how budget cuts impact Oklahoma’s veterans. In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt wrote that Oklahoma’s educators are fighting back

Blatt detailed in a blog post how even amid an energy bust, Oklahoma’s oil and gas tax breaks are costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler showed how cuts to the Indigent Defense System have left our justice system deeply unbalanced. We shared information about a free upcoming lecture on infant and toddler welfare

OK Policy in the News

Blatt was interviewed by Huffington Post in a feature on red states expanding health coverage. Policy Analyst Carly Putnam was quoted in a NewsOK piece on the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s proposal to accept federal funds and extend health insurance coverage to uninsured Oklahomans. Here’s what we know about the plan so far. Jason Stone, who is running for the state House of Representatives, quoted OK Policy in an interview with the Edmond Sun. The website Rewire cited OK Policy statistics while arguing that state lawmakers are wasting money on antiabortion legislation. 

KFOR interviewed Outreach Specialist Kara Joy McKee about the #DoSomethingOK campaign. Policy Director Gene Perry talked about the #DoSomethingOK campaign with the Red Dirt Report. The radio station Z94 discussed #DoSomethingOK and urged listeners (and readers) to participate. Blatt spoke to the Oklahoma  Gazette about grassroot efforts to get legislators to build a better budget


Join Blatt and McKee on Sunday, May 8, at 3pm for a webinar on what is going on with the budget, what our legislators can do, and what you can do to help us climb out of this giant budget hole. To participate, go to this link promptly at 3pm on Sunday, May 3. You can also dial in to listen using your phone at 1-646-749-3122, access code: 685-631-061. The webinar is limited to 100 people, but we’ll have a recording available soon for those who aren’t able to join! Find out more and join the discussion on Facebook here

In addition, join Together Oklahoma’s campaign to tell lawmakers that we can’t cut our way to prosperity, and need to protect core services and raise revenues. Join #DoSomethingOK here.

Calling all college students!

We are currently 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. The corporate income tax tends to be, along with the gross production tax, one of the state’s most volatile tax sources, fluctuating dramatically from year to year and often coming in far above or below certified estimates. Read more

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

Quote of the Week

“The most important thing we have to deal with right now is the budget because if we don’t deal with the budget, the rest of the plan that we’re here to talk about really falls apart, falls apart very quickly.”

– Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Nico Gomez, speaking to a group in Durant about the Medicaid Rebalancing Act of 2020 (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Dan Alban, The Oklahoman

While driving through Muskogee County, Eh Wah had more than $53,000 in cash seized by the sheriff’s department. Wah and the other owners of the cash — including a Burmese Christian rock band and a Thai orphanage — became the latest victims of Oklahoma’s “civil forfeiture” laws, which allow law enforcement to take property without obtaining criminal convictions. But they successfully fought back, thanks to a new lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm.

Numbers of the Day

  • 778 – Estimated number of unsheltered homeless persons in Oklahoma (20.5% of the total homeless population)
  • 30.0% – Share of Oklahoma foreign exports going to Canada in 2015, the most of any non-U.S. country
  • -0.3% – Personal income growth rate over the past year for Oklahoma, one of just six states with negative personal income growth
  • $5,123 – Average annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old in Oklahoma
  • 7.4% – Percentage of Oklahoma’s state vehicle fleet that run on natural gas (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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