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

After Governor Fallin’s announcement that she is calling a special session beginning September 25, OK Policy released a statement urging lawmakers not to waste this second chance to get the budget right. State Question 640 is a significant hurdle to good budgeting in Oklahoma, and Rep. Marcus McEntire argued in a guest post that it’s time to revisit SQ 640 so government can work effectively for its citizens. Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler implored Congress to pass legislation protecting DACA recipients after President Trump’s decision last week to end the DACA program.

Executive Director David Blatt suggested in his Journal Record column that the recent court decision upholding the partial repeal of the state sales tax exemption on motor vehicles should be seen as a blow to special interests – they can no longer argue that their tax exemptions have special constitutional protection. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update argues that the court decision sets a new course for Oklahoma politics – the majority party now has leeway to remove tax exemptions (effectively raising taxes) with only a majority vote.

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Gene Perry spoke with The Oklahoman about the Legislature’s options for fixing the budget in special session – lawmakers have many good options, like removing some tax exemptions that don’t benefit the average Oklahoman. The Daily O’Collegian at Oklahoma State University cited OK Policy data in an editorial expressing disapproval of the President’s decision to end DACA.

Upcoming Opportunity

The Tulsa chapter of American Promise will hold its launch event on Saturday, September 23rd, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the University of Tulsa College of Law.  The event, titled “Limit Money in Politics”, is  a free workshop open to the public.  For more information, or to RSVP, click here.

Weekly What’s That

Revolving Funds

A revolving fund is a fund of a specific government agency or entity that collects revenues from fees and other sources and supports expenditures of that agency or entity. In Oklahoma, most revolving funds cannot be spent by the Legislature, and balances of the fund carry over from one year to the next for the same purpose. Most revolving funds are created by laws. Expenditures from revolving funds may be limited to purposes defined by the law. Read more here.

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

Quote of the Week

“The plaque on the Statue of Liberty does not say bring me your lawyers, doctors, and scientists. Rather, it says bring me your tired and hungry. We have had several people who have come with nothing to the United States and they have improved our country.”

– U.S. Rep. Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma City), in an interview with Spanish-language station Telemundo (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Staff/Journal Record

Oklahoma cannot save its way to prosperity. If ever the truth of the cliché about it taking money to make money were evident, it is now in Oklahoma. The no-tax monomania is proving to be as deadly for the state as was Ahab’s obsession as the sick, the elderly, the children and the poor of our state continue to suffer the consequences. No government should spend frivolously or tax unfairly, but the never-tax, never-spend ideology is so detrimental to growth, prosperity and human decency that Oklahoma will eventually find itself looking up even to Mississippi.

Numbers of the Day

  • 6865 – Number of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initial applications approved for Oklahoma residents as of March 2017
  • 35.4¢ per gallon – Combined state, local, and federal gas tax in Oklahoma, lower than any other state except Alaska.
  • 466 – Number of driver fatalities in Oklahoma in 2014
  • 57.1% – Percentage of Oklahoma households that have a savings account, 2015

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading