Oklahoma Policy Institute released a statement on the House passage of HB 1010xx to fund a teacher raise and other serious public needs:
The revenues approved in HB1010xx are a great start to keeping our best teachers in the classroom and undoing the damage caused by years of budget cuts. With these revenues, Oklahoma will finally be able to provide significant raises for teachers and state workers and reverse some of our deep cuts to general school funding. The bill goes a long way to restoring the gross production tax, which had been hollowed out by unnecessary and unaffordable tax breaks that were holding back our whole state economy to benefit a few powerful special interests.
This plan won large super-majority support because lawmakers know that our state must increase revenues substantially to protect Oklahomans’ prosperity, health, and safety. While this legislation can begin to turn our state around, Oklahoma’s structural deficit was years in the making, and more must be done to put the whole budget back on a sustainable path. Lawmakers have plenty of time left in this session to approve popular and effective reforms like removing the expensive and ineffective capital gains deduction and restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit for working Oklahomans.
Many teachers and regular Oklahomans are skeptical that, after the hard-won passage of HB1010xx, lawmakers will not go back to their old ways of refusing to raise needed revenues and neglecting Oklahoma’s core services. Many are understandably choosing to keep the pressure on lawmakers until more change is evident. Oklahomans are focused on fixing the budget, and our legislators should not ignore their calls to do better.