Governor Fallin Says She Will Sign Tax Hike Bill

The Oklahoma State Senate

The tax package House members passed includes an increase in oil and gas production taxes from 2 percent to 5 percent, a 3-cent increase to gasoline taxes, a 6-cent increase to diesel taxes, and a $1 tax on a pack of cigarettes.

The OEA is still calling for a statewide walkout on Monday, arguing that lawmakers already are working to repeal the lodging tax, which generates almost $50 million for funding.

Less than 24 hours after the Oklahoma Senate passed a revenue bill, the House has voted to repeal a tax that was expected to generate almost $50 million.

Despite additional demands from the state's largest teacher's union, senators Wednesday night did not take up measures that would increase pay for school support staff and other public employees.

Oklahoma teachers, who have not had a raise since 2007, have set a statewide walkout Monday to pressure lawmakers.

According to the National Education Association, Oklahoma is ranked 49th in teacher salaries, however teachers here in Guymon said it's not just about the money, it's about the students. "I think everybody wanted teachers to have a pay raise, but now they're saying, 'Why are they walking out now?' If you walk now, it could present a very different image".

Late this afternoon.Governor Mary Fallin signed it into law.

Oklahoma teachers are fighting for more than raises for teachers.

Acevedo said 65 Guymon teachers have committed to demonstrating at the capitol on Monday, while some will stand in solidarity at Guymon public schools. Oklahoma teachers say it's not enough, however, and they still plan to strike next week.

Mark Webb, a science teacher at Mustang High School, is one of them. "By signing these measures, Oklahoma will move to second-highest in the region, up from the lowest, in average teacher pay".

Krista Neal, SPS school nutrition director said school-aged children from any district or school can go to any of the district's six designated sites for free meals for as long as the walkout lasts. "Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students", she wrote.

Tommy Brennan, local Oklahoma Education Association representative, said plans are still in motion for Poteau educators to visit the Capitol in support of funding.

Cobb reported Friday that 93 percent of about 1,000 teachers and other workers he polled said they wanted to walk out on Monday and 83 percent "thought we should stay out of school beyond Monday". They retaliated by passing State Question 640, a Constitutional amendment requiring any tax increase get three-fourths support in the legislature.

"We have two placements so I did it at my last placement where I got that experience so I feel more confident this time and for the future because I did have that experience since we did have two placements this time", Marsh said.

"West Virginia woke us up", Arizona Educators Association President Joe Thomas told a cheering crowd at a protest this week in Phoenix.

Like in Kansas, Oklahoma's tax cuts and deregulation spree didn't have the desired effect on the economy.

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