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David Blatt of the Oklahoma Policy Institute on How Our State Can Redress Its Vast Budget Gap

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Aired on Tuesday, March 10th.

As our state's newly inaugurated legislative session continues, there's been no shortage of bills that've attracted attention from the national media -- for less than favorable reasons -- including bills that would ban "hoodies" or AP History classes, or those that would allow Oklahoma businesses to discriminate against their gay customers or else end civil marriages altogether. What we have not seen -- not yet, anyway -- is a responsible discussion of how to fill a $611 million shortfall in next year's budget. Our guest is David Blatt, executive director of the nonprofit, non-partisan Oklahoma Policy Institute, which has recently put forth a number of suggestions on how the Sooner State can take steps to fix this mammoth funding gap (which comes to nearly ten percent of the state's overall budget). From tapping into Oklahoma's Rainy Day Fund to dropping the state income tax deduction for itemizers to accepting federal money to expand health care coverage -- to name but three of seven such suggestions that his think tank has articulated -- Blatt discusses these ideas with us today.

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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