State Question 779 Supporters Gather At Capitol

Friday, June 24th 2016, 1:38 pm
By: News 9

A group of teachers, parents and students gathered at the State Capitol Friday to express frustration over efforts to block State Question 779 from being on the November ballot.  

State Question 779 creates a one-cent sales to generate funding for education.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) filed a complaint against the sales tax proposal, claiming some of the petition language was inaccurate.

Related Story 6/23/16:  OK Lobbying Group Files Complaint Against Proposed Penny Sales Tax

Friday the group, Yes For 779, rallied at the State Capitol in response to the challenge claiming the OCPA is trying to obstruct direct democracy.

“Parents, teachers, and concerned citizens from across the state came together and signed petitions to bring this question to a vote of the people,” Oklahoma PTA President Brenda Heigl said. “Signatures were collected faster than any time before in our state. The people have spoken, they want the opportunity to vote on this issue. These delays do not serve the people of Oklahoma, and they certainly do not serve the children of Oklahoma. In this country our vote is our voice. OCPA needs to let the people of Oklahoma use their voice and determine the outcome of this issue.”

Supporters say the sales tax would raise $615 million a year for education. A majority would go toward a $5,000 pay raise for teachers.

OCPA issued this statement Friday:

"Oklahomans want a teacher pay raise, not a tax increase, and they want that pay raise to kick in for the upcoming school year, not over a year from now. Our proposal, which could still be passed in a one-day special session by state lawmakers any time between now and the general election, calls for a $5,000 pay raise for every public school classroom teacher in the state without increasing taxes or cutting core services.This would allow for a teacher pay raise to be in effect during the upcoming school year and would not require working Oklahoma families to pay the highest sales tax burden in the nation. Waiting another year will only result in more good teachers leaving Oklahoma classrooms, causing harm to children and families across our state."

 --Dave Bond, CEO, OCPA Impact