Why Saving The Income Tax Is Critical For Higher Education

1. More educated citizens lead to a more prosperous state. Increasing the number of college graduates is vital to our prosperity in a knowledge-driven economy. Oklahoma currently ranks 43rd in the nation in the percentage of the population with a bachelors degree or higher. Governor Fallin is promoting ambitious goals for increasing the number of college graduates, but she has not backed up that pledge with any increased funding. Instead, her budget proposes income tax cuts that will cost at least $340 million in lost revenue in their first full year.

2. Rising tuition and fees threaten to put college out of reach for many. State support for higher education is down 9 percent compared to three years ago. Meanwhile, more than 16,000 students were added to the system over the past two years. State colleges and universities were forced to raise tuition and mandatory fees by about 5 percent in 2010, and by the same amount again last June.

3. Higher Education funding is being especially targeted by tax cut proponents. Those pushing for the elimination of the income tax have already put out a plan that calls for cutting higher education by $90 million over the next two years.

4. The income tax is a vital funding source for higher education. The Oklahoma Promise (OHLAP) scholarship program is funded entirely from income tax revenues. In addition, higher education is appropriated over $250 million annually in income tax revenues – which is equal to the per-student costs of 23,400 full-time college students.

What You Can Do Today

1. Get Informed. Resources to learn more about the income tax debate are freely available athttps://okpolicy.org/take-action

2. Contact elected officials. Let your elected representatives and the top officials who are making decisions on taxes and the budget know how you feel. Your voice can be heard!

Speaker Kris Steele (405) 557-7345 krissteele@okhouse.gov
Rep. Earl Sears, Chair of House Appropriations and Budget committee (405) 557-7358earl.sears@okhouse.gov
Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman (405) 521-5528 bingman@oksenate.gov
Senator Clark Jolley, Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee (405) 521-5622jolley@oksenate.gov
Governor Mary Fallin  (405) 521-2342 click here to email the Governor
Find your state legislators’ contact information here and see how to contact Governor Fallin here. You can also reach your legislators through the House switchboard at (405) 521-2711 or 1-800-522-8502  and the Senate switchboard at (405) 524-0126 or 1-800-865-6490.

CLICK HERE for the PDF version of this factsheet


Oklahoma Policy Insititute (OK Policy) advances equitable and fiscally responsible policies that expand opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy.

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