Roadshow Roundup: Countless Questions, Concise Commentary

  • Joe Wertz

We had a great turnout at our three-city State Budget Roadshow, which we co-hosted with our partner stations in late January.

As expected, our audiences were keyed-in on the big issues and came loaded with questions concerning the Oklahoma economy and ideas on how to fix, well, everything — from education and economic growth, to rural life and stargaze-ruining street lights.

Joe Wertz / NPR StateImpact

State Sen. Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa, speaks with an audience member after paneling the budget town hall forum in Tulsa.


Jan. 23
Co-hosted by Public Radio Tulsa

The two lawmakers on our panel talked about their priorities for the upcoming legislative session while our third panelist, David Blatt, director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, defended Oklahoma’s personal income tax and reiterated research by his organization that proposals to reduce or eliminate the income tax would effectively raise taxes for most Oklahomans.

Panelists: Sen. Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa; Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville; David Blatt, Director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute

Joe Wertz / NPR StateImpact

State representatives Joe Dorman, Emily Virgin and Scott Martin talk to each other after paneling a forum on the state budget at OETA in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City

Jan. 25
Co-hosted by KGOU and OETA

Much of the talk centered on the income tax, but our legislative panelists answered questions about tribal tax compacts, water rights and the ongoing issues at the Department of Human Services.

Panelists: Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs; Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman; Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman; Mickey Hepner, Economist


Jim Johnson / KGOU

(from left) Agriculture Economist Dave Shideler, Rep. Cory T. Williams, D-Stillwater, and Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, lead a discussion on Oklahoma’s state budget and economy.


Jan. 31

Co-hosted by KOSU

The discussion was almost entirely led by the audience, which was eager to ask the panelists about the income tax, the sad state of many state-owned buildings, and how the state budget affects life in rural Oklahoma.

Panelists: Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater; Rep. Cory T. Williams, D-Stillwater; Dave Shideler, Economist