Oklahoma Group Collecting Signatures For Penny Sales Tax Increase

Tuesday, February 16th 2016, 2:49 pm

Supporters for a penny sales tax for education kicked off their petition drive Tuesday.

They have 90 days to collect 124,000  signatures. If they can get the required signatures we all will have a chance to vote on the tax in the November elections.

“We want something done; we want our children taken care of; we want our public education system rebuilt,” OU President David Boren said at a kickoff event Tuesday.

Supporters say the sales tax would raise $615 million a year for education, a majority would go toward a $5,000 raise for teachers. Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year Shawn Sheehan was one of the first to put his signature behind the movement.

“I think this is the most realistic way we can rally around public education. This is a sign of hope for me as a teacher in the trenches for my wife who’s a teacher for my teacher friends,” Sheehan said.

Opponents, however, argue if supporters of the sales tax are successful, Oklahoma would have the highest sales tax in the country.

They do agree something should be done, however Dave Bond with the OCPA Impact said his group favors finding the money for teacher raises elsewhere in the budget.

“We can do it and we should do it and should do it quickly with resources already available. Take stuff that’s going to non-essential services and still meet the end result," he said.

Supporters of the sales tax increase will also be holding a series of town hall meetings in the coming days to lobby for the proposal.

Click here for more information on those meetings or where to sign a petition.