OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear arguments and decide if University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s one-cent sales tax increase is constitutional.
Boren first proposed the idea in response to those who say feel the state is not funding education fully. Boren and supporters want voters to decide on a penny hike to give teachers a $5,000 pay raise, and hire up to 1,000 new teachers. Plus 40% will go to Higher Education (University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, etc.) in the state.
Opponents argue both are necessary, just not like this.
The head of a nonpartisan advocacy organization in November filed a formal protest with the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Initiative Petition 403, the proposal by Boren to fund teacher salary increases by making Oklahomans pay the nation’s highest sales tax burden.
“That’s the point of not having log rolled ballot measures, is to not put the voter in a position to take something they just really don’t like a major sales tax increase, to see something they really do like a teacher pay raise happen,” said Dave Bond, OCPA Impact CEO.
OCPA Impact CEO Dave Bond also argues that log rolling is what’s unconstitutional. He said ballot measures can only have one issue, not several.
Supporters of Boren’s petition feel there is one issue, and that’s funding education.
“Lawmakers face a billion dollar budget hole this session, it’s going to be a battle to even get a flat budget for education, this penny sales tax will provide a permanent steady funding source to make sure teachers have a pay raise and it would make college more affordable for Oklahoma families,” said Amber England, Stand for Children Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Watch has compiled data, and reported that if Boren’s plan is passed Oklahoma City and Tulsa would both be in the top five of highest taxes in the nation.Follow @FortySixNews