Worthy tax credit program

The Tulsa World editorial “Stealth voucher bill gets closer to becoming state law (April 17)” is troubling, as it spreads misinformation about Senate Bill 407.

In reality, this bill has the potential to impact positively even more public schools by increasing the dollar amount they can receive to implement or expand innovative programs. This is critical for rural districts, like mine, that can lag behind those with larger ad valorem tax bases.

The editorial states, “Earlier in the process, the legislation retained a limitation that would prevent any of the donated money from helping any school district with more than 4,500 students...” It fails to mention that this cap is law, but the bill’s authors removed it at the Oklahoma State School Boards Association’s request so all could participate.

Opponents also argue this bill would further divert funds from public schools. But if this logic holds, all tax credits divert funds from public schools, including much larger tax credits for industries like medical research, renewable energy and aerospace.

Shouldn’t you also oppose these?

We cannot attack the only tax credit that provides a direct benefit to public schools and ignore much larger ones for other industries.

SB 407 doesn’t absolve the need to fund education. Its supporters wholeheartedly advocate for increased teacher pay and education funding in general. It will just help improve a school’s ability to solicit even more donations.

Businesses will continue to donate using tax credit programs. Let’s help them give more to those that desperately need it: our public schools.

Shane Boothe, Mangum

Editor’s note: Shane Boothe is the superintendent of Mangum Public Schools

Electoral College hurts voters

The Electoral College is a very unfair system to citizens who hold a political ideology that varies from the popular political ideology of the majority in their residing state.

The argument that if some states’ electoral votes had been excluded, then a different candidate would have won is an invalid and flawed narrative. The consideration of excluding voters is not influential.

This is just a way to side-step the fact that one candidate received more votes than the other.

Each voter, no matter what state, should be able to cast an equal vote. The Electoral College prevents this from happening.

A voter in a swing state has more power than someone voting in a state heavily supporting one party or candidate. It creates a power difference among people and very heated arguments among people of opposing parties.

In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, George W. Bush received fewer votes than Al Gore but won the Electoral College to become president. The exact same scenario occurred in the 2016 election with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Caden Coleman, Glenpool

Editor’s note: Caden Coleman is a senior at Glenpool High School.

School vouchers in disguise

The Tulsa World editorial board was correct in calling Senate Bill 407 a “stealth voucher bill that will divert millions in state tax revenue to private schools.” (“Tulsa World editorial: Stealth voucher bill gets closer to becoming state law,” April 17.)

SB 407 is not only a loser for public education, it is a sad relic of a hyper-partisan era in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma first enacted education tax credits in 2011 during the tea party wave that brought Mary Fallin into the governor’s mansion. While our state government remains overwhelmingly Republican, the most obstinate and far-right legislators were ousted in the 2018 elections in favor of moderates, many in primaries.

In the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee hearing on April 10, House leader Jon Echols emphasized he won’t bring SB 407 to the floor until after the budget comes out.

It is tempting to read this as a reasonable gesture of political compromise. But if we listen closely, we will hear the truth: Leader Echols is acknowledging that SB 407 is a loser for public education.

House leadership wants us to look for a budget increasing education funding, and then acquiesce as $30 million of general revenue is effectively diverted to wealthy donors and corporations, who will make the call on where education funds go.

That’s picking winners and losers, and it’s wrong.

Education tax credits are indeed vouchers in disguise. Drastically expanding the tax-credit cap with SB 407 moves Oklahoma the wrong way on public education. House leadership would be wise to listen to bipartisan opposition and drop SB 407.

J.J. Burnam, Tulsa

Missing Easter stories

It takes a terrorist bombing in Sri Lanka for the Tulsa World to put the word Easter on the front page.

It would have been easy to use the words “Happy Easter” within the Tulsa World.

There is no greater headline. Disappointed again.

The Tulsa World eliminated the Religion/Faith and Values Saturday section and added a recurring column about diversity that should be in the Opinion section.

It is easy to see the direction the Tulsa World is heading: away from references of Christianity and conservative views.

Brent Geiger, Coweta

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