Sunday, June 12, 2016

Education tax inspired Oklahoma budget cuts for colleges - Janelle Stecklein, CNHI Oklahoma Reporter

A controversial plan to hike sales taxes in order to increase money for schools ended up costing colleges and universities $153 million in the upcoming state budget, lawmakers said. Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, said a 16 percent budget cut to higher education is “direct retribution” against former governor and current University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who is the champion of the plan to increase the sales tax by a penny on the dollar. “It’s no secret at the Capitol,” said Morrissette. “It was clearly retribution. It’s very, very sad and very unfortunate. It was an easy target, and (there is) nobody to stop them.” The proposal, which is likely to appear on the November ballot for voters’ approval, pledges to raise $615 million for education. Most of that go toward $5,000 raises for public school teachers. The tax also will gin up $118 million for higher education, campaign organizers say, including an unspecified amount for Boren’s university, to be determined by a pre-existing, state formula. It also will pump $20 million into CareerTech vocational programs. http://www.enidnews.com/news/state/education-tax-inspired-budget-cuts-for-colleges/article_3d67f73c-f717-5a91-bbb7-989fd0e7583b.html

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