STATEMENT: Education rally points to a better strategy for Oklahoma

Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt released the following statement in response to the rally for education funding today at the State Capitol:

The tens of thousands who rallied at the Capitol today should be a wake-up call to legislators. Almost no one is clamoring for another tax cut, but Oklahomans do want to restore our state’s investment in education. The popular support for education funding matches what economic experts and business leaders say is most important to boost the economy.

Lawmakers are considering automatic tax cuts that would be triggered whenever revenue grows modestly. But we need a better trigger. How about no more income tax cuts until per pupil funding climbs back to where it was in 2008? How about no tax cut until our teacher salaries are no longer among the lowest? How about no tax cut until our students are no longer being taught from outdated textbooks? How about no tax cut until our college graduation rate reaches the national average? The message from Oklahomans is clear: “Don’t cut our taxes until you fund the services we need.”

In comments at the rally, Blatt emphasized that choices made by legislators to repeatedly cut taxes and let tax breaks expand have contributed to the state’s current budget problems. “If we can start making the right choices, the money will be there to do the things that we know will strengthen our schools and ensure the next generation has even greater opportunities than this one,” he said. 

A full transcript of Blatt’s remarks is available here.

A recent OK Policy issue brief laying out options for filling the state’s budget hole is available here.


Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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