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Today In The News
House weighs $1,000 teacher raises: Education advocates on Tuesday said a legislative proposal awarding teachers a $1,000 raise could ultimately be viewed as a slap in the face and push more educators out of Oklahoma classrooms. “That is not enough to incentivize future teachers or current teachers,” said Shawn Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, after a House committee pushed a plan forward that would also give classroom support professionals a raise. A $1,000 raise would cost as much as $60 million a year, budget officials said [CNHI]. House lawmakers advanced familiar measures Tuesday but didn’t consider a Rainy Day Fund spending bill approved by the Senate a day earlier [NewsOK].
Legislature drills down into details on revenue-raising measures: The Oklahoma Legislature can’t seem to compromise on a bipartisan budget bill. So top officials are homing in on one portion of oil and gas wells from which to raise revenue. House Republicans introduced a bill that would raise rates on a small subset of existing wells. Previous attempts in the special session to raise gross production taxes to 4 percent on all new wells failed. Legislators were unsuccessful in advancing a $3,000 teacher pay raise [Journal Record]. Lawmakers have good revenue options for special session if they have the will to use them [OK Policy].
Legislature devolves from solutions to blame-game politics: Members of the Oklahoma Legislature seem to have given up on solving the state’s problems and have moved on to their more natural strengths: denial, projection, partisan bickering and blame-game politics. Last week, there was hope. Gov. Mary Fallin, Speaker of the House Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz unveiled a plan to raise cigarette, fuel and alcoholic beverage taxes and use the money to plug the state’s $215 million budget hole, give teachers a $3,000 pay raise, recreate the state’s earned income tax credit for working poor parents and improve the state’s future fiscal structure [Editorial Writers / Tulsa World].
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