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Petition Filed In Oklahoma To Repeal Tax Increase For Increased Pay For Teachers

Anyone with a tax ID number Oklahoma will get a chance to make their decision regarding the tax hike package issued in the state, one designed to increase funding for teachers and education, as critics of the tax hike have filed a petition against the new House Bill.

The referendum petition was aimed at House Bill 1010xx, which was passed during a special session, aimed at raising taxes to fund an increase of $6,100 to teacher’s average monthly salary in the state. As part of said tax increases, the bill would add $1 to every pack of cigarette, 3 cents for every liter of gasoline, 6 cents for diesel, and an increase of the gross production tax from 2% up to 5%.

The supporters of the petition require around 41,000 signatures from people with tax ID number Oklahoma in order to get their petition, State Question 799, on the ballot. The deadline for the collection of votes and the petition itself is July 18.

The group behind the petition is Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite, led and co-founded by Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, with support from Former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.  Vuillemont-Smith says that the supporters of the repeal want to get the proper measure on the November ballot. She adds that this is not them being against pay hikes for the teachers, merely the method that Legislature took. According to her, the Legislature opted for the easy way, and simply raised taxes to fund these new wages.

Oklahoma has not seen a tax hike since the enactment of State Question 640 in 1992, which itself needed supermajority votes from both chambers.

Vuillemont-Smith says that the state’s lawmakers should have done auditing on state expenses, work on reforms, or any other alternative ideas to fund the pay raise other than simply raising taxes. She says that OTU genuinely believes that there things the state of Oklahoma can do to fund education, without the need of having to raise taxes.

Several lawmakers have expressed their disapproval of the petition, saying that it invalidates the bipartisan efforts that lead to the bill for more funding.

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