Senate To Take Up Two Education Funding Bills Friday
OKLAHOMA CITY - Day number four of the teacher walkout, and there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. The Senate is expected to take up two revenue raising bills Friday. But, leadership does not plan to budge on the budget.
Senate leaders say the $2.9 billion education budget is done and there are no plans to add more money to education funding, although the Senate will take up two bills to reassure educators that the money will be there to pay for raises.
One bill will impose an internet sales tax to make up for money lost by the expected repeal of a proposed hotel motel tax.
“It’s to help replace that and assure people that we’re completely committed to fully funding the teacher pay raise,” said Senator Greg Treat (R) Majority Floor Leader.
The other bill will expand gaming to add balls and dice to casinos, bringing in about $22 million more dollars. But, Senate leaders say the ink is dry on the $2.9 billion education budget and they’re not making any changes.
“I don’t anticipate any modifications to the education budget going forward. All I anticipate is people will have more assurance that the revenue that we say is going to be there will be there,” Treat said.
Alicia Priest of the Oklahoma Education Association said, “They also said that on Monday and on Tuesday and yesterday. So, we’re here to say our teachers need to see a path forward.”
Priest said her members are waiting to see what Friday brings.
“If they take it up and pass it is the walkout over? We’ll see what our members say.” Priest said, “We’ll have to read the bills, how they’re passed and what funding goes where.”
The Senate will be meeting at 8:30 Friday morning, to take up those revenue bills.