Founded in 1993, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) has become a trusted source for fact-based public policy analysis in the Sooner State, fighting for free-market principles and greater opportunity.
“Research and real-life experience have both proven, time and again, the free market is the single greatest tool in the world for lifting the most people out of poverty in the least amount of time, enabling human flourishing at unprecedented levels,” OCPA President Jonathan Small said.
“OCPA’s mission is to fight for the best interests of Oklahoma families, businesses, children, and taxpayers by promoting policies that advance free enterprise, limited government, and individual initiative,” Small said.
‘Save Our States’ Initiative
One of OCPA’s biggest priorities is its “Save Our States” initiative dedicated to defending the Electoral College and the integrity of presidential elections. Headed by OCPA Executive Vice President Trent England, Save Our States is a national effort to defeat the National Popular Vote effort, which would further concentrate political power in the nation’s most populous states.
“The American Founders rejected a national popular vote in favor of a state-by-state election because they did not want one region or a few big cities to control the rest of the country,” England said. “Instead, they created the Electoral College to force presidential campaigns and political parties to reach out beyond their strongholds.
“To understand why a national popular vote is a bad idea, just recall the chaos of the 2000 presidential election in Florida, and extend it nationwide,” England said.
Tax, Education Successes
Thanks to the work of OCPA, Oklahoma’s income tax has gradually been reduced from a top rate of 7 percent to 5 percent. That has increased the take-home pay of Oklahomans from all walks of life because the state’s top income tax rate kicks in at $8,700 of taxable income for single filers and $15,000 for couples.
OCPA has also led the fight to oppose Medicaid expansion, saving taxpayers up to $374 million per year.
OCPA’s efforts for education freedom have helped enable numerous low-income students and children with special needs to attend private schools that best serve their needs.
‘Fight for Individual Freedom’
When the Oklahoma Ethics Commission tried to redefine routine contact with legislators as “indirect lobbying” subject to onerous reporting requirements, OCPA led the charge against the rule, noting it was very similar to the measures touted by Jim Crow states attempting to force the NAACP to turn over membership lists. In the end, constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and association won out, and the Oklahoma Ethics Commission shelved its proposal.
OCPA produces content throughout the week, including both policy analyses and news updates, which can be viewed at www.ocpathink.org.
Ray Carter ([email protected]) is director of the Center for Independent Journalism at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.