OKLAHOMA CITY – On a monumental day when Gov. When Fallin signed the first federal tax hike since 1990, funding for teachers' salaries has increased, which is not without drama at the State Capitol, with a representative rushing to the capital to push ahead with legislation and lift some of the taxes imposed a few days ago To fund teacher pay raise plan.
Governor Mary Fallin signed a $ 447 million tax increase and a lawful deduction. along with a teacher's rate, Thursday night in the Blue Room.
"We finally made it," said Fallin, accompanied by Republican and Democratic lawmakers and teachers. "And I want to thank our Legislators for the hard work they have done."
According to the law signed by the governor, teachers see an average increase of $ 6,000, depending on the term of the teacher. The events come days before a scheduled teacher and public employee fail on April 2.
"This is a very historic moment in Oklahoma's time, we have achieved something that we thought was impossible, have made many different attempts and put together packages in many different ways to have sufficient revenue to become central government services to be able to pay and pay a salary raise for teachers in the state of Oklahoma and put Oklahoma on a sounder foundation for the future. "
The $ 447-Million Tax The package included an increase in the oil and gas production tax five percent, tax increases for cigarettes, fuel and a hotel / motel tax.
But part of this tax hike is already on the way to being lifted. The House approved the cancellation of the hotel / motel tax on Thursday afternoon before the governor signed the tax increase legislation
A hotel / motel occupancy tax of $ 5.00, which annually incurred $ 50 million, caused a lawless tax hike package Wednesday night to the Senate. On Thursday, the house began abolishing the tax, and John Enns, R-Enid, was taken back to the capital by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to cast a vital vote for legislation to progress.
"The beauty of the building, love it or hate it, it takes both chambers to hand over a bill," said Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, who voted to lift the tax. "Just as you compromise and negotiate and do what's right for the state of Oklahoma."
Both chambers were unable to pass tax increases since the adoption of a 1
The house passed the tax increase package 79-10 on Monday; The Senate approved the measure 36-10 on Wednesday evening and sent it to the governor. However, senators expressed concerns about charging a tax on people staying in state hotels and motels, which led to plans to completely abolish the tax.
"Number one we would not have had the votes to earn revenue yesterday evening's commitment to do that," said Senator Floor Leader Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. "Once we got this commitment to repeal, we could live up to our promises to raise teachers salaries."
Treat says the abolition of the tax has no effect on teacher salaries and that "we only have to use some other funding flows to fill the $ 47 million dollars expected from hotel / motel tax."  But House Democrats called for the use of the Senate of a trailer bill to change the tax hike package only days after it let the house through, off floor
"It took nearly 30 years in this building to raise taxes, and about 72 hours, to turn around and cut them again, "said Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, as he discussed a request for the tax cancellation of the passage Thursday afternoon. "And we wonder why the public does not trust us and we wonder why the public is frustrated with us, why they are unsure if they want to send us back for another term."
A procedural vote was opened for Thursday's hours to allow MEP Enns to return to the capital to hold a vote that allowed for legislation on tax evasion to proceed. It finally went 69-26. The questions and the debate were limited, leading Democrats used the proposals after the passage of the law to express their frustration about tax cuts without replacement funding.
"This is not an emergency." What is an emergency is the lack of text books in my children's schools. "Lack of payment for teachers in the state of Oklahoma." This is an emergency, "said Collin Walke MP, D-Oklahoma City. "If you think tax cuts are an emergency, then you clearly do not know what that word means."
"You must mean it in Alanis Morissette's (music artist)" Ironic "sense of the word."  School staff, public employees increase advances
As the highlight of the day's events surrounded above all the signing of the tax increase to fund teachers' salaries, the Senate brought forward two bills that set the pay scale for school staff and public salary increases. Those are now going to the governor's office to sign him.
While some districts have announced that they will not resign in protest of a lack of adequate education funding and pay increases, other districts, teachers and public employee groups say the strike is still out on Monday.