Senate Passes Funding Bills, Still No Impact On Teacher Walkout

Friday, April 6th 2018, 7:20 pm

The state senate took up three measures to fund education leading to cheers from hundreds of teachers that packed the capitol.  But it won’t be enough to end the walk out. 

The senate passed a bill to tax third party amazon vendors.  

“Amazon does a lot of business with other individuals that may be vendors that amazon may be marketing for them,” said Senator Roger Thompson (R) Okemah.

The bill will raise about 20-million dollars toward education.  That makes up for the senate repealing a proposed five dollar per night hotel motel tax. 

Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat (R) Majority Floor Leader says the money isn’t really needed; it’s more a way of reassuring teachers the 2-point-9 billion dollar education budget will be paid for.

“We have it.  We passed it the governor signed it.  The budget is complete,” said Treat. 

The senate also passed a bill expanding casino gaming to allow for ball and dice use despite objections.

“I just don’t think this is a good plan. I don’t think it’s a good deal for the state. The state will be liable for more addictions and more welfare,” said Senator Roland Pederson (R) Burlington.

Senator Wayne Shaw (R) Grove added,  “I can tell you of jobs that have been lost because of gambling.  I can tell you of marriages that have been broken because of gambling.  I can even tell you of a suicide because of gambling.”

The 24-million dollars that will raise will not be used for the education budget.

“It will not add one dollar to education,” said Senator Frank Simpson (R) Springer, “We cannot appropriate these funds because they are not certified by the Oklahoma tax commission.”

The Oklahoma Education Association now says teachers will continue to walk unless the governor vetoes the hotel motel tax repeal and unless the legislature passes a bill ending the capital gains tax deduction and uses that money to fund education. 

Senate leaders said they did what teachers asked.

“They wanted the amazon and ball and they wanted ball and dice. What did you see on our floor?  You saw amazon and ball and dice,” said Senator Treat,  “I’m not sure what their next set of demands will be.”