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Oklahoma Court Voids Petition to Repeal Taxes Funding Teacher Raises

June 29, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—The Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered June 22 that a referendum to repeal tax increases enacted in April to fund teacher raises should be stricken from the ballot. The court ruled 5-2 that the petitions for State Question 799 were “misleading for multiple reasons,” including that it failed to mention a tax on little cigars and cited a hotel and motel tax that had been repealed. The tax increases on cigarettes, little cigars, fuel, and gross oil production will go into effect July 1. Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite, the group behind the petition, blamed “media and unions reporting lies” by “falsely stating it was a repeal on teacher pay raises.” The referendum would not have repealed the $6,100 pay increase the legislature gave teachers, just the taxes enacted to pay for it. “The students of Oklahoma are the big winners of today’s decision by the State Supreme Court,” Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said in a statement. “This will help turn the tide on Oklahoma’s teacher shortage.” The court gave Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite until July 18 to develop a revised petition and collect the more than 41,000 signatures needed to get it on the ballot. Read more

June 29, 2018

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