tax

When the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 1010xx in March, it was the first time lawmakers had increased state taxes in 28 years. Both the House and the Senate applauded themselves.

The governor acted swiftly to sign the bill, and at first, it seemed like a reason for school leaders to celebrate. They had been begging lawmakers to increase teacher pay for years, and it finally happened.

But the excitement quickly faded.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about an attempt by a group backed by former Senator Tom Coburn to veto the tax increases which are funding pay raises for teachers, support staff and state workers and lawmakers push through some questionable bills and leaves some on the table in its plan to end the 2018 legislative session three weeks early.

After passing teacher pay raises and providing revenue to fund them, some lawmakers thought the teacher walkout would be short lived. However, as the walkout closes in on its fourth day, some are wondering what the options are to provide more revenue to fund education and other core state services.

Following are some of the options lawmakers have talked about in the past that could still be on the table. They have varying levels of support, which is tricky when considering the super majority new revenue measures require. 

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Updated 7:11 p.m.

As House members were preparing to adjourn, Republican Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols announced that he had just been notified by the state Senate that they would hear House Bill 1013XX on Thursday. 

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After months of gridlock and failed deal-making, the Oklahoma House and Senate have passed a nearly $450 million tax package designed to fund raises for teachers and avoid statewide school closures.

Gov. Mary Fallin said she’ll sign the tax package, which fell short of teachers’ demands. Educators still plan to march at the Capitol April 2 to pressure lawmakers to spend more on schools and public employees and continue a debate that has highlighted growing gaps and frustrations over taxes and government.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the State House and Senate agreeing to send the governor a $474M tax increase to fund pay raises for teachers, school support staff and state workers. Meanwhile, the Board of Corrections calls on lawmakers to provide $9M in supplemental funds just to pay bills over the next three months.

Sug Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma has done something many political watchers didn’t think was possible: the Republican-controlled legislature has approved a tax increase to give teachers a pay raise.

Teachers in the state say they need more money, and they’ll stick to their planned walkout next week. The Department of Education is just one state agency that’s contending with a worsening budget crisis after years of tax cuts didn’t have the results state lawmakers were hoping for.

Kelly Burley / KOSU

On Wednesday afternoon, teachers in Stillwater got an after-school jump on a planned statewide walkout next week.

At one of the city’s busiest intersections, 6th and Western, roughly 40 Stillwater public schools teachers and students waved signs as passing motorists tapped their car and truck horns in seeming approval.

Celeste Fox, a 26-year educator who teaches second grade at nearby Westwood Elementary School, says it’s time to stem the long-rolling tide of education budget cuts in Oklahoma.

oksenate.gov

A bill lowering the threshold for lawmakers to raise revenue failed in a Senate committee on Wednesday.

House Joint Resolution 1050 would have allowed voters to lower the legislative threshold from three-fourths to two-thirds.

The bill’s author, Senator Kim David says lawmakers’ hands have been tied since State Question 640 was passed in 1992.

Updated 8:58 p.m.

After more than three hours of discussions behind closed doors, the Oklahoma Senate made quick work of three bills that would help fund a teacher pay raise package and potentially avoid next week’s teacher walkout.

Senators passed three bills Wednesday night:

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