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Capitol Week In Review: Step Up OK Fails, New Budget Plan Proposed

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Jones plan calls for a 5-percent increase in the gross production tax, a 75-cent tax on tobacco, and an increase on the gas and diesel tax. Jones plan calls for a 5-percent increase in the gross production tax, a 75-cent tax on tobacco, and an increase on the gas and diesel tax.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The state legislature's second week of regular session included the failure of the largest tax increase in state history, massive cuts in agency budgets and an unexpected alliance between Democrats and a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Hundreds of teachers and supporters of the Step Up Oklahoma plan came to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers, and left disappointed. The Step Up plan, which would have provided $5,000 dollar annual teacher raises, didn't have the votes to pass out of the House.

Watch Related Story: Teachers Voice Support For ‘Step Up’ Plan At State Capitol

The next day, Republican leaders announced plans for deep cuts to state agencies.

But even as Republicans moved forward with cuts, Democrats backed a tax plan crafted by Republican state auditor and gubernatorial candidate Gary Jones.

Read Related Story: State Democrats Throw Support Behind New Budget Proposal

Jones plan calls for a 5-percent increase in the gross production tax, a 75-cent tax on tobacco, and an increase on the gas and diesel tax. Jones says that would raise $448-million in re-occurring revenue to fund teacher and state employee raises.

House Republican leaders say Jones’ plan won't help the 2018 budget - that ship has sailed. But it's worth considering for the 2019 budget, and those talks will continue next week. 

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