In The Know: Senator proposes plan for $10,000 teacher pay raise

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Teacher Pay Raise With No Tax Increase? State Senator Offers Complicated Proposal: A Republican senator said he had a “moral obligation” to propose a complicated, six-part plan to give Oklahoma teachers a $10,000 pay raise without a tax increase, despite the state facing a $900 million budget shortfall. The $400 million proposal, released Thursday by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, instead would seek funding from overhauling tax breaks, by consolidating the number of school districts and by diverting a portion of future budget growth to education [Oklahoma Watch].

A Way Home for Tulsa surpasses goal of housing 290 homeless veterans: A collaboration of 23 area agencies working to house and provide support services to those in need surpassed its goal of housing 290 homeless veterans last year. Working as A Way Home for Tulsa, the agencies spearheaded Zero:2016 Tulsa, part of a national effort to end veteran and chronic homelessness. The collaboration was able to house 298 veterans and 78 chronically homeless [Tulsa World]. The large number of returning veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has inundated the national veteran assistance system with more than it is equipped to handle [OK Policy].

Politics versus reality of business and economics: As our state budget and future revenue outlook crumbles, many of our political leaders who helped get us in this mess have been very defensive. They seem unwilling to reconsider the short and long term implications of tax and policy mistakes. On Jan. 13, Gov. Mary Fallin issued a press release that for political purposes ignores the breath and depth of the recent decision of GE to relocate its headquarters from a suburban Connecticut location to Boston. The press release is but another example of the failure of our state leaders to have honest conversations with us about how to move our state forward and be competitive in today and tomorrow’s world [Dennis Neil / Tulsa World].

Health Care Authority Discusses Cuts That Affect Medicaid: State agencies across the board are dealing with a three percent budget cut. One of the areas that will be affected is Medicaid, and the services it provides to children. These cuts will apply to all children covered by Medicaid who need mental health services. Thursday afternoon, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority held a meeting giving anyone two minutes each to speak up about the cuts [News9]. The state budget crisis is rolling back the state’s health care gains [OK Policy].

Incentive review commission misses deadline: The Incentive Evaluation Commission missed a Jan. 1 deadline to draw up a list of tax incentives that it will review first, because it hasn’t met or acquired all of its members. The Legislature created the commission last year as it wrangled with a $611 million budget shortfall. Next fiscal year, the shortfall will be at least $900 million. Commission members will systematically review tax incentives, starting with the ones that have the highest draw against state revenue [Journal Record]. Oklahoma lawmakers worked with The Pew Charitable Trusts to improve the state’s incentives [OK Policy].

Sales Tax Proposal Would Help Schools, But Experts Say It Comes At A Cost: Daryl Gandy walks through the halls of Ulysses S. Grant High School in south Oklahoma City. “We have 1,800 kids in this school that was built for 1,250,” Gandy said. “We have about 30 teachers, myself included, that don’t have a classroom.” Gandy started teaching government here five years ago and it was his first teaching job after finishing college [KGOU]. OK Policy’s statement on the sales tax proposal is here.

Final draft of new state standards now public; education board votes due next week: The Oklahoma State Department of Education made public on Thursday the final drafts of proposed new academic standards. The unveiling comes just one week before the state Board of Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will consider whether to certify them. If the English/language arts and mathematics proposals clear those hurdles, the Legislature will take them up for approval or disapproval during the new session, which begins Feb. 1 [Tulsa World].

Sales Tax Break Authored by Senate President Benefits His Employer: An obscure sales tax break authored by Oklahoma’s Senate leader is subsidizing an expensive form of enhanced oil recovery for seven companies, including the senator’s employer. The tax break on electricity used to power old “waterflood” recovery projects was authored in 2005 by now-Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa. The first company to apply for and receive the exemption was Uplands Resources Inc. of Tulsa. At the time, Bingman was the company’s land manager. He currently works there as vice president of land and operations [Oklahoma Watch].

Vision proposal facing last-minute overhaul discussion: Tulsa’s Vision renewal tax package, pondered by city officials for years, might have veered in a new direction Thursday, a week ahead of a deadline to finalize the entire $1.17 billion proposal. A meeting in Tulsa City Council chambers concluded with the beginnings of a proposal to split the entire package into two separate votes. One vote would be on Vision economic-development projects as soon as April, and another vote would take place later to address operational needs that have long been a part of the Vision proposal [Tulsa World]. 

Disgraced ex-officer Daniel Holtzclaw sentenced to 263 years in prison for rapes, sexual assaults: A former Oklahoma City police officer was sentenced to 263 years in prison Thursday, about a month after he was convicted of rapes and other offenses that authorities say occurred while he was on duty. Daniel Holtzclaw, 29, was convicted in December on 18 of the 36 counts he had been facing — including four counts of first-degree rape [Washington Post].

Budget Crisis Could Hinder State’s Ability to Manage Floods and Protect Streams: Oil and gas are endangering the Oklahoma’s streams, soil and wetlands. Not by polluting them, but because plummeting oil prices have blown a billion-dollar hole in the state’s budget. Funding cuts at agencies that manage Oklahoma’s natural resources could threaten the state’s beauty, as well as people’s lives and property, officials say. When the Oklahoma Conservation Commission’s Robert Hathorne spoke with StateImpact last summer, he lamented how much work it takes to maintain thousands of flood control dams with little money and manpower [StateImpact Oklahoma].

Democrat J.J. Dossett Is Sworn In As Oklahoma State Senator: Democrat J.J. Dossett has been sworn in as the newest member of the Oklahoma state Senate. Dossett was sworn in Thursday at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City with friends, family and supporters in the audience. Dossett defeated Republican David McLain in a special election earlier this month in District 34 in the Tulsa suburb of Owasso. He replaces Republican former Sen. Rick Brinkley, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement and resigned [NewsOn6].

Quote of the Day

“Since I’m single and I don’t have children, I can afford to teach here. But I couldn’t raise a family on this salary. At all. But as of right now, I’m OK. That’s not the same for the vast majority of teachers. Since most teachers are married and have kids, you can’t raise a family on this salary.”

– Teacher Daryl Gandy, who teaches government at Ulysses S. Grant High School in south Oklahoma City (Source).

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma workers who have access to a workplace retirement plan (29th out of all 50 states).

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why Do Employers Still Routinely Drug-Test Workers? I was shocked to hear, several weeks ago, that a fellow journalist, who recently started as a research editor at a national magazine, had been asked to pee into a cup. As a condition of employment, this colleague told me, she’d been asked to show up at a laboratory on two days’ notice, lock her possessions in a cabinet, and deliver a sample of clean, drug-free urine into a plastic receptacle with her social security number printed on the side. Why would a research editor need to undergo this screening? “Who knows,” she said. “I guess someone could be high and not check all the facts in an article?” [Slate]

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

One thought on “In The Know: Senator proposes plan for $10,000 teacher pay raise

  1. Ditch paying for fluoride, an unnecessary and dangerous drug that’s making our kids fat and stupid and causing health problem for us all with thyroid and other issues.
    The money saved there would eagerly be snatched up by any number of truly badly needed program services like feeding the elderly, caring for homeless Veterans, mental health programs.
    Every penny counts!
    ANYONE who wants fluoride is free to buy toothpaste and mouthwash containing it and not force this drug on the rest of us without our consent.
    People gripe about unvaxx’ed kids causing health problems for those with autoimmune disorders, but don’t realize that this drug does the same for the very young and elderly and ill who, especially in this State can’t afford expensive bottled water. Fluoridated water specifically marketed to (toothless!)infants formula is criminal!
    It ONLY works when it is in direct contact with teeth.
    Schools need to be reorganized at the top. Like everything else in our failing business model, all the money goes to the top of this pyramid scheme we call our school districts.
    I have nothing but respect for Teachers, but boy do the bad apples spoil things for everyone else! Giving free laptops and cell phones out while children are sharing textbooks? Uh, no! Going to educational ‘conferences’ in tourist destinations, with open discussion for visiting the casinos? I dont think so!
    Paying tax dollars for wall to wall police terrorizing and shaming students with the tacit assumption that one wrong move and they’ll be handcuffed and hauled off to jail, or worse, while our city streets are over-run with people endangering us all speeding, running lights and general ‘rules dont apply to me’selfish stupidity?
    Kick out any kid who’s not a cookie cut-out! Who cares if they are the best and brightest, just left to fail, we WANT a school full of conditioned worker bees who will not fight back against unjust authority or care about pesky things like Civil rights and Constitutional duties!
    There is a super smart man named Mike Payne who works for the State, deals with the Tobacco funds. Get him on reorganizing our schools upper echelons. They wont like his ideas, like anyone who’s had free rein with someone else cash. We, however, will finally be getting our school tax dollars value!

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