Tom Coburn Criticizes Oklahoma House For Passing Tax Hike

Tom Coburn Criticizes Oklahoma House For Passing Tax Hike

The tax package will increase the tax on oil and gas production, cigarettes, hotel and motels, and fuel, something truck driver Doug McKouen said he's a little anxious about.

But he agrees with Bud Hardcastle on one thing: Anderson hopes the almost $450 million tax package lawmakers agreed to send to schools actually improves conditions in Oklahoma's classrooms - and all that tax money isn't wasted.

The Oklahoma Senate passed the bill late Wednesday.

Despite additional demands from the state's largest teacher's union, senators Wednesday night did not take up measures that would increase pay for school support staff and other public employees.

Oklahoma teachers have reacted with disgust and anger over the pay offer and the school-funding bill signed into law by Republican Governor Mary Fallin Thursday afternoon.

More campuses are being added to the list of Oklahoma schools that will be closed next Monday because of a teacher walkout.

While the governor praised the bipartisan deal for giving teachers the "largest raise in Oklahoma history", the one-time increase of between $5,000 to $7,000, depending on years of service, will do little for teachers who are ranked 49th in the nation in pay.

Oklahoma teachers were inspired by the successful strike in West Virginia, where educators similarly exerted pressure on recalcitrant GOP lawmakers to win a major victory. "I think everybody wanted teachers to have a pay raise, but now they're saying, 'Why are they walking out now?' If you walk now, it could present a very different image".

Bartlesville: If Fallin signs the bill, a majority of teachers will not walkout.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signs revenue bills and a teacher pay raise bill in Oklahoma City Thursday
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signs revenue bills and a teacher pay raise bill in Oklahoma City Thursday

After a historic raise is approved by the Oklahoma House and Senate, almost 200 teachers across the district gathered to discuss their next plan of action. But, that won't be enough to avert a planned teacher walkout next week.

Advocates say low teacher compensation pushes educators out of Oklahoma classrooms and the profession.

Mark Webb, a science teacher at Mustang High School, is one of them.

Hofmeister, who was calling for $5,000 raises, said it will now be up to local school boards to decide how their districts will respond. The reforms were funded by tax increases, which many Oklahomans were not happy about.

While unable to call the strike off, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are opposed to an extended strike, which would reinvigorate opposition throughout the country. "Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students".

"We have a good group of volunteers that will be coming Monday", said Becky Taylor, executive director of Our Daily Bread. "There is still work to do to get this Legislature to invest more in our classrooms". They retaliated by passing State Question 640, a Constitutional amendment requiring any tax increase get three-fourths support in the legislature.

"If I'm the only one here, then I will go to my Representative and Senator and say, 'look, we haven't fixed the problem". "This is a start, and we are getting Oklahoma back on track".

However, in a 69-26 vote Thursday, the House voted to repeal the hotel/motel tax through HB1012XX. Sen.

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