State Supreme Court Green Lights Sales Tax Increase Vote
The Oklahoma Supreme Court earlier today rejected a constitutional challenge to a proposed 1% sales tax increase to bridge the funding gap that currently exists for public education in Oklahoma. While rejecting the argument, the Court has rewritten the measure's title, ruling that the original title was misleading. An anti-tax group opposed to the measure challenged the proposal last month. The tax measure will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.
The ballot initiative became necessary earlier this year when legislators cut nearly $24 million from the state budget earmarked for state colleges and universities. In the same state budget cuts, raises to educators that had been promised by Governor Mary Fallin and State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister were rejected by legislators, while more than $40 million was syphoned from the state text book fund and another $40 million reduction was made in the state's school activities funds.
Meanwhile, Bob Stoops, head football coach at the University of Oklahoma recently received a $250,000 pay raise, bringing his annual compensation to approximately $5.25 million per year, which includes a $700,000 stipend to stay at OU. In other words, he is be paid almost $1 million to not leave the University, which is what the remaining $4.55 million, and a contract, should be an encouragement to do. At the same time, coach Stoops' younger brother Mike, an assistant coach at OU received a $200,000 annual raise, bringing his annual salary to $850,000.
In other Oklahoma news, the $245 million remodel of the state Capitol Building continues, unphased that students at State Colleges and Universities, including Cameron University and the University of Oklahoma, will have to pay a 7% increase in tuition fees going into the beginning of the 2016/17 school year. It also goes right past legislators that students in public schools across the state will be doing without new or proper text books for the coming school year, and that teachers in a state that ranks 50th, dead last in the nation in educator salaries, will go without raises, while many move to other states for more lucrative offers.
At least we know the state has its priorities straight.
source: KSWO news, KOCO news, ESPN