Oklahoma Supreme Court Voids Challenge To Teacher Pay Tax


Friday, June 22nd 2018, 11:29 am
By: News 9


The Oklahoma Supreme Court says an initiative petition that would overturn a package of tax hikes for funding teacher pay raises and public schools is invalid.

Oklahoma's highest court handed down the ruling Friday and ordered that the initiative petition not appear on an election ballot.

An anti-tax group led by former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn had launched a referendum petition seeking a vote to repeal tax hikes on cigarettes, fuel and energy production approved by the Legislature earlier this year. Money from the taxes would fund an average $6,100 teacher pay increase.

But the court says the wording of the petition is misleading and those who sign it don't know what they would vote on.

The Supreme Court said the "gist" on the petition did not include all five of the tax raising measures, the petition's wording was not correct and the copy of 1010xx within the referendum did not include the original section numbers from the bill.

The court says the group has until July 18 to circulate a new petition.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister tweeted out after the decision was made and said, "OK Supreme Court rules Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite's HB1010XX veto referendum petition invalid. #oklaed."

Hofmeister released the following statement Friday morning:

The bipartisan passage of House Bill 1010xx was a significant step forward for all Oklahomans. I commend the Oklahoma Supreme Court for rejecting a repeal effort of this landmark legislation. At long last, we can reward our dedicated, hardworking public school teachers with the competitive pay they deserve. On the heels of a school year in which 1 in 7 students was taught by an untrained teacher, we can, and we must, now begin stemming the tide of Oklahoma’s crippling teacher shortage. Today’s decision clears the way for funding regionally competitive teacher pay, ushering in a new era of stability that is not only a win for public education, but for our kids and the future of our state.

The Oklahoma State School Boards Association Executive Director Shawn Himes released the following statement:

Today's decision is a victory for Oklahoma children, and I deeply appreciate the state Supreme Court for its swift action. 

The financial uncertainty has hindered teacher retention and recruitment efforts during a critical hiring season. Amid an historic teacher shortage, I'm grateful school districts can now move forward with finalizing budgets, fully implement the new certified staff salary schedule and guarantee teachers will receive the state's largest-ever teacher pay raise.  

It's my hope that Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite will abandon its effort to overturn the bold action of the Oklahoma Legislature in passing new revenue, which would allow schools to enact the raise without the worry of a possible revenue shortfall. It's time for Oklahoma to move forward, and ensure Oklahomans choose leaders who understand that investment in education and other core state services is the path to prosperity. 

 Oklahoma Senate Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus, said:

I am pleased the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected the effort to repeal HB 1010xx. The Legislature took extraordinary steps in passing HB 1010xx and it is absolutely necessary to fully fund the largest teacher pay raise in state history and the significant increase in education funding passed this session. We should all now turn our focus toward working for the resources and reforms necessary to support our teachers and ensure our children get the best education possible.

Hofmeister released the following statement Friday morning:

The bipartisan passage of House Bill 1010xx was a significant step forward for all Oklahomans. I commend the Oklahoma Supreme Court for rejecting a repeal effort of this landmark legislation. At long last, we can reward our dedicated, hardworking public school teachers with the competitive pay they deserve. On the heels of a school year in which 1 in 7 students was taught by an untrained teacher, we can, and we must, now begin stemming the tide of Oklahoma’s crippling teacher shortage. Today’s decision clears the way for funding regionally competitive teacher pay, ushering in a new era of stability that is not only a win for public education, but for our kids and the future of our state.

The Oklahoma State School Boards Association Executive Director Shawn Himes released the following statement:

Today's decision is a victory for Oklahoma children, and I deeply appreciate the state Supreme Court for its swift action. 

The financial uncertainty has hindered teacher retention and recruitment efforts during a critical hiring season. Amid an historic teacher shortage, I'm grateful school districts can now move forward with finalizing budgets, fully implement the new certified staff salary schedule and guarantee teachers will receive the state's largest-ever teacher pay raise.  

It's my hope that Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite will abandon its effort to overturn the bold action of the Oklahoma Legislature in passing new revenue, which would allow schools to enact the raise without the worry of a possible revenue shortfall. It's time for Oklahoma to move forward, and ensure Oklahomans choose leaders who understand that investment in education and other core state services is the path to prosperity. 

 Oklahoma Senate Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus, said:

I am pleased the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected the effort to repeal HB 1010xx. The Legislature took extraordinary steps in passing HB 1010xx and it is absolutely necessary to fully fund the largest teacher pay raise in state history and the significant increase in education funding passed this session. We should all now turn our focus toward working for the resources and reforms necessary to support our teachers and ensure our children get the best education possible.

","published":"2018-06-22T16:29:20.000Z","updated":"2018-06-23T01:22:21.000Z","summary":"

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says an initiative petition that would overturn a package of tax hikes for funding teacher pay raises and public schools is invalid.

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