Oklahoma House Democrats say tax-cut plan will hurt schools
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Thursday, March 07, 2013
3/07/13 at 3:59 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - House Democrats on Wed- nesday criticized Republican proposals to reduce the income tax in light of declining per pupil funding.
They called a news conference with a handful of superintendents to say school funding has dropped as enrollment has gone up. Further reducing the state income tax means less revenue for education, which has been hit hard by budget cuts in recent years, they said.
A proposal by Gov. Mary Fallin calls for reducing the income tax to 5 percent from 5.25 percent. A measure pending in the Senate would reduce it further.
"It is time to stop playing politics with our students' lives," said Stacey Butterfield, incoming superintendent for Jenks Public Schools.
House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, said that under Fallin's proposal, nearly 42 percent of taxpayers would not see a benefit and 58 percent would see an average benefit of $39 per person per year.
"Our position as the House Democratic Caucus is the public school system in the state of Oklahoma, our children, deserve to be properly funded," Inman said. "And the plan that has been laid out this session by the governor and other legislative leaders we believe severely neglects the children in the state of Oklahoma."
Since 2008, common education has been cut by nearly 20 percent, Inman said. During the same time, the state has seen an increase of nearly 22,000 students, Inman said.
Fallin's measure would cost $120 million, Inman said.
Donna Anderson, Bennington Public Schools superintendent, said her district has been cut in federal, state and local revenue.
"My plea is that we stop the tax cuts," Anderson said.
Original Print Headline: Democrats deride tax-cut plan
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