Once again, our fearless leaders in the Oklahoma House of Representatives rejects a revenue package that “would have injected $342 million into next year’s budget”. The package would have given Oklahoma teachers a whopping $1000/year raise. It would hardly make a difference to teachers but it is better than nothing. However, since the package failed, teachers will get nothing.
Now, school districts across the state are forced to make more major cuts to their budgets. Enid school board has slashed next year’s budget by $1.8M. Tulsa plans to close three schools to cut $12M, by consolidating five schools and eliminating 37 teachers. Woodward and Muskogee are eliminating summer school and reducing staff to save $1M. Fort Gibson is delaying hiring due to a $400K reduction in their budget.
House Bill 2414 includes a provision for gross production tax on oil and gas wells, but it only applies to new wells and will not affect next year’s budget. Other proposed tax hikes were on cigarettes and gasoline, putting the onus on Oklahoma citizens to fix the budget.
Nothing is changing. Legislators are still more concerned about oil and gas, and not education and students.