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Oklahomans Donate Tax Cut To Education

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

At the beginning of this month, a tax cut went into effect for most Oklahomans. But some are upset that legislators are moving forward with a tax break, while education faces huge cuts. So they’re asking you to donate your tax cut to a school.

Using this calculator from Oklahoma Policy Institute you can calculate just what kind of tax cut you are going to get.  

Tegan Sexton calculated she will be getting a $60 tax cut.

“A whole $60, the cost of some popcorn and a movie at the movie theatre,” she said.

Or about $5 a month; not enough to make much of a difference to her, so she's handing a check over for the entire amount to her school, hoping it can do more good there.

“It gives anybody who wants to support education a chance to make a little statement and show we care about our schools,” said Dr. Rick Cobb, the superintendent of Mid-Del Schools.

Cobb is one of those behind the movement. He had planned to donate his tax cut. Then this weekend, after talking to another administrator who was also planning on donating, they decided to encourage others to do the same.

“It doesn’t plug our hole. It doesn’t solve our deficit problem that we have. But what it shows is that to me the tax cut isn’t as important as helping public education,” he explained.

Cobb says you can donate to any area and any school, and if you don't know where just ask a principal or teacher. Then spread the word on social media with the #GiveItBackOK. 

The movement is already gaining momentum, even among some state lawmakers.

Tegan is also a teacher, so she knows the challenges schools are already facing. But her donation will go into the school activities fund to help pay for those things that tax dollars no longer will. 

“I grew up here. My kids are here. This is where we are going to stay. We want to make sure it’s the best possible place,” she said.

The median Oklahoma household will get about a $29 cut. The cut is expected to reduce state revenues by $147 million.

Gov. Mary Fallin released the following statement Monday:

"Most of the state's revenue decline can be attributed to the cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry and the 70 percent decline in the price of oil in the past 18 months. We've lost about 12,000 jobs from the energy sector decline, and that has an effect upon our sales tax, our income tax, our use tax, our motor vehicle tax and certainly the gross production tax on oil and gas. Modest, incremental income tax reductions are not the problem.

"The income tax cut's budgetary impact is $120 million in the upcoming 2017 fiscal year, which is only a little more than 10 percent of the projected budget hole. It's a fact, the state would still have over an $800 million budget hole even if that tax cut hadn't taken effect.

"Up until the energy downturn, Oklahoma had the fourth-fasted growing economy in the nation. This tax cut will prove its worth in the long term. Tax policy is long-term policy and over the long term, a lower tax burden is good policy and the policy the voters have asked for in Oklahoma. If Oklahoma wants to attract and retain good jobs - rather than losing them to neighboring states - we must improve our tax climate." 

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