Bill On Tax Increase, Teacher Pay Fails To Pass House
OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill that would have meant the highest tax increase in the state’s history and a $5,000 pay raise for teachers, has failed. The State House of Representatives was not able to reach the 76 votes needed to pass the measure.
The bill, an effort by a group of business and civic leaders calling themselves “Step Up Oklahoma” would have raised almost $800 million through a combination of tax increases on tobacco, oil and natural gas production and motor fuels. It would have also changed the structure of income taxes and wind production taxes, all to give the state more stable revenue and give teachers a $5,000 annual raise.
“This is time for action. This is the time to finally give our hard working teachers a pay raise” said Speaker of the House Charles McCall (R-Atoka).
Rep. Scott Inman (D-Del City) told the gallery filled with teachers: “They want you to pay more while they have their fat cats get off the hook. And I won’t stand for it.”
So what happens next? Is it back to the drawing board again to try to raise a revenue plan 76-percent of lawmakers can agree on? Depends on who you ask. Rep. Emily Virgin (D-Norman) Democratic Caucus Chair said, it’s time “that we get back to the table and roll up our sleeves and make sure that it’s a fair and equitable plan for all Oklahomans not just those at the top.”
Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang) said, “The speaker has been quite clear that this is the last revenue bill that we’ll run this year and I believe him. At some point you quit beating your head on the damn brick wall.”