Former Governor Talks Supermajority That's Preventing Teacher Raises

Thursday, March 15th 2018, 8:05 pm
By: Karl Torp

News 9 is learning more about the provision requiring lawmakers to have a supermajority to raise taxes.

Former Governor David Walters was in office in 1992 when voters approved State Question 640.

Walters said the ballot question was in response to a $560 million tax increase for education, known as HB 1017. The bill was approved by lawmakers and signed by the Governor Henry Bellmon days after Oklahoma teachers went on strike over wages.

WATCH: Flashback 1990: Oklahoma Teachers Rally For More Money

Walters said while previous attempts to repeal HB 1017 failed, the state question in 1992 had an effect message to voters.

“It was harder to argue against, had a better sound bite if you will, which was basically no new taxes without a vote of the people,” said the Walters, who now runs Walters Power.

Part of State Question 640 included the supermajority.

That means all revenue raising measures at the Capitol must have a 75% majority to pass.

On Wednesday, a bill that would have provided funding for a 12.7% raise for teachers was voted down in the State Senate because it fell short of 75% majority.

Read Related Story: Bill For Teacher Pay Raises Fails After Not Receiving Enough Votes On Revenue

Walters says he supports a teacher strike and wants to demonstrate at April 2, if it comes to that.

At the same time, he feels if teachers are offered a $5,000 raise, they should take the deal.

“It might not be the deal you want, but take it and ask for more. There are lots of opportunities to ask for money as our government operates,” said Walters.