Updated house approves massive tax package to stave off walkout state enidnews.com electricity and magnetism study guide


Supporters said the package would hike the gross production tax charged to oil and gas drillers to 5 percent on all wells. It would increase the state’s gasoline tax by 3 cents and the one on diesel by 6 cents. It would hike the tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack, and create a new $5 per night hotel and motel occupancy tax. Lawmakers also want to raise revenue by allowing ball and dice games in casinos and by capping the amount of itemized deductions Oklahomans can claim.

Williams, who voted for the measure, said it was the first, recent revenue-raising measure he could support. House lawmakers have rejected several previous packages as each fell short of the three-fourths majority needed by law to raise taxes.

“Today, the House of Representatives passed a true bipartisan solution to one of the major problems we are facing as a state,” said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, in an emailed news release Monday night. “This plan was developed with input from both Republican and Democrat leadership. It is not a perfect plan, but inaction is simply not an option; it is time to move Oklahoma forward. House Republicans have been negotiating in good faith with House Democrats, the Senate and the Governor’s Office for well over a year in search of a bipartisan solution that would increase our teachers’ pay and put more money into the classroom."

“These measures finally ensure Oklahoma’s dedicated, hard-working public school teachers receive well-deserved, competitive pay," she said. "In addition, the bills provide desperately needed resources for textbooks and support staff who perform vital services for our students. We know that increased teacher pay is not a cure-all for our state’s crippling teacher shortage, but it would solidly put us on track to retain our committed educators and recruit new teachers to the profession. Without a teacher pay raise, an already devastating situation will only worsen, with children being the ultimate victims."

"I applaud state representatives for taking an important first step toward a long-term funding plan for public schools that includes competitive teacher pay," Hime said in an email. "Our teachers, students and schools need this. This plan addresses the most immediate crisis in our classrooms: the shrinking pool of educators willing to teach in Oklahoma.

"Enacting the largest teacher pay raise in state history and increasing teacher pay above the regional average will strengthen the teacher pipeline. Offering the largest raises to the state’s most experienced educators ensures Oklahoma can retain top talent while recruiting the best and brightest young people to the profession."

Teachers said they will force school closures statewide starting April 2 unless lawmakers met a list of their demands including $6,000 raises for teachers, as well as raises for support staff and other public employees, additional classroom spending and increases in health care appropriations.

More experienced classroom teachers would receive an even larger raise based on years of service and their certification, Williams said. For example, certified teachers with 25 years experience could see their pay increase by nearly $8,000 to top out at $51,232, according to a budget analysis.