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OK Sales Tax on Ballot to Boost Teacher Pay:Voters Comment on Pr - KOAM TV 7

OK Sales Tax on Ballot to Boost Teacher Pay:Voters Comment on Proposal

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Oklahoma voters comment on a proposed sales tax increase to fund education.
There are seven state questions on the upcoming November ballot in Oklahoma.
One would increase the sales tax a full cent and is predicted to raise more than six hundred fifteen million dollars for education.
 
Miami and other Oklahoma school teachers would get a five thousand dollar raise if state question 779 is passed by voters. The district lost seventeen teachers last year. Five, still live in Miami but work in higher paying border states. 
Superintendent Jeremy Hogan said, "It impacted us greatly. If we couldn
t fill those positions, class sizes went up, some courses we werent able to offer.  We have teachers here that are on emergency certifications, meaning they havent gone through the school of education or done student teaching which prepares them for the classroom."
 

 The sales  tax issue if passed would bring nearly one and half million dollars to the Miami school district something the superintendent says  is needed to recruit  and retain  teachers.

 Oklahoma sales tax would go from 4.5 cents to 5.5 cents on a dollar  and then be added to local sales taxes. Some believe crossing the border could become an issue for businesses too.
The Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Gilbert said,  "Being a border community you have an option as a consumer  to go to Missouri to go to Kansas where sales tax is less

The chambers not taking a formal stand. But we as individuals, as industries have to decide, is educating our young people a priority. 
 

Many taxpayers we talked to at a local restaurant think taxes are already high.
Martha Bagwill from Tulsa said,
Its just gonna be too high. Eleven cents on the dollar and the casinos was supposed to help the schools."

Casino compact fees generated one hundred sixteen million dollars for education last year, not enough to cover the wanted raises.
The one cent tax is being touted as raising more than six hundred million dollars but a representative with the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services says with the weak economy and declining tax revenues, it could be more like five hundred and fifty million dollars.

 

Randall Wilmoth owns Alenes family restaurant and said, "If its for education, I dont think it would be a problem but I think the sales tax is high enough.  Sixty percent of my customers are veterans who dont pay tax but I do."

Like the owner, customers at Alene
s agree taxes are high, but want to support education.

Jim Thomas said, "We notice it (taxes), but teachers need a raise too."

Claudia Vanatta said,
Teachers, they're getting cut way too far back. They dont have the backing that  they really should. Yeah, I think it would be great."

Jesse Brown, qualified his support, "If they spend it all on education, I
d go for it.  That's the only way I would. "
The new funds are not supposed to replace current education funds.
But customer Ray Box agreed with Brown and said,   

Yeah, I just dont trust politicians."


Voters decide November 6th.


 

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