Weekly Wonk September 8, 2013

The Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage.  Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know.  Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

 OK Policy Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column examined how Oklahoma police, district attorneys, and private contractors are profiting from confiscating Oklahomans’ property without due process.

AT&TThe OK Policy blog featured its last post in a three part series on the private prison industry by summer intern Matt Simmons. In this post we looked at how the private prison industry has attempted to influence public policy through lobbying and campaign contributions. The first post looked at the history of private prisons in Oklahoma and how a slew of “tough on crime” measures passed in the 1980s accelerated an already growing incarceration rate. The second post examined the relative costs and benefits of utilizing private prisons versus public prisons.

We also discussed how State Question 766 will give AT&T a $23 million tax break while costing schools $31 million and we explained how an Oklahoman editorial covering a Cato Institute report presents wildly inaccurate information about poverty and safety net programs in the state.

Numbers of the Day

  • 5th – Oklahoma’s rank among the states for the change in housing prices over the last 5 years, up 4.5 percent since 2008
  • 56,948 – The number of Oklahoma farms that are fully-owned by their operator, rather than part-owned or rented, 66 percent of the state’s farms vs. 69 percent nationally
  • 83.7 percent – Percentage drop in the number of persons receiving TANF (or ‘welfare’) cash assistance in Oklahoma from 1991 and 2011, the 9th largest drop in the U.S
  • 2nd – Oklahoma’s rank for the share of its residents who are “engaged” workers (36 percent) –  involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and their organization – compared to 30 percent nationally

Policy Notes


Leave a Reply

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