Education Groups Call For Boycott On Businesses Supporting Teacher Raise Petition
OKLAHOMA CITY - Education groups are calling for a boycott of businesses gathering signatures to stop the upcoming tax increase for teacher raises.
The group “Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite!” posted the list of businesses, but now some of those businesses are saying they shouldn't be on it.
A spokesperson for Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite says because of the boycott and backlash, they have removed the list of businesses who don’t want to be on the list from their website.
The YP Fuels convenience store on the corner of Danforth and Boulevard in Edmond was on the Oklahoma Taxpayers’ Unite original list. Their name has been removed, but when News 9 asked for the petition at the counter, they handed over the petition. The employee said he’s not the one in charge of the petition he was just told to put it on the counter.
“That’s not really the legal way to do it,” said Mickey Thompson from Restore Oklahoma Now. His group was planning a petition drive to raise the Gross Production Tax to 7% to pay for teacher raises.
Thompson said, according to Oklahoma law, the petition needs to stay in the possession of the petitioner.
“Somebody is supposed to witness the signature and then on the back has to attest in front of a notary that they witnessed all these signatures are in fact, registered voters,” said Thompson.
At Harry's Hometown Grocery in Ringley, they say someone just walked in and dropped off the petition.
“The girls, they just threw it away because they knew how I would feel about that,” said Carol Lockwood, a teacher and the owner’s mother.
But when the owner learned they were on the list of businesses supporting the petition, they immediately posted a Facebook message saying they don't promote the petition in any way.
“I’m a teacher, and I’m the fourth generation of Lockwoods to be a teacher so that says it all,” said Carol. “We’re going to remain teachers and we’re not going to be against something good for teachers.”
Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite, however, says they were given the names of the businesses that were hosting the petitions:
“We were assured that these business owners knew the petition was to place HB1010xx on the ballot for a vote of the people. Many of the businesses agreeing to have their business promoted as a signing location would be directly affected by the higher tobacco and fuel taxes.
Upon locations being made public, these places of businesses had their livelihood threatened through boycotts and negative reviews on their business. Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite! have removed the locations from our website and will place only those who confirm they want their location made public.”