BY THE WATCHMAN
We all know that it’s political season. By now we are all tired of getting the mail from the candidates that tells us lies and half-truths. We go through this every two years. It’s especially bad this year when it gets to the state questions. Many of us are fans of Toby Keith and have a reason to be proud of him. Now we can’t say for sure if he was told the entire truth about State Question 779, but we can say that the commercial he made in support of it is misleading and incorrect. In fact he makes it sound like the entire tax increase is going to the classroom. It’s not. In fact the University of Oklahoma President and initiator of this question David Boren made sure there was a nice little chunk carved out for them.
What we find really misleading in the advertisement was the part where Mr. Keith indicated that the funds would be put in a lock box and used for educating our children. Right off the bat we first hope it’s nothing like the lock box our Social Security Retirement Funds are supposed to be put into. But the statement is far from the truth. We encourage you to open this article and read it Oklahoma One Percent Sales Tax, State Question 779 (2016) - Ballotpedia. Granted 69.5% of the money goes to our K through 12 education, but a big chunk of that is going towards a pay raise for teachers not to the classrooms. If the teachers want that big of a pay raise than we as parents should expect a better return for our dollar. We should see a higher standard for receiving and education degree from our universities. A 2.5 GPA just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Higher education gets a good chunk of this money too. We’ve seen our colleges and universities raise tuitions every year just to fatten the pay checks of their faculty and now they want 19.25 percent of this tax increase. If they want that much we need some kind of guarantee that they will not raise tuition. That big of an increase should more than cover the cost of their pay hikes.
The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education get the lowest proportion of the tax at a mere 3.25%. This will barely cover pay raises for the instructors they have.
The most surprising of all may well be the Oklahoma State Department of Education will receive 8% of this tax increase. This is pure ignorant. All this will be spent on is pay raises. There will be none of this money funneled to the classroom where it is so desperately needed. How in the world can the citizens of Oklahoma allow this to happen?
The next article of interest we found was this Counterpoint: Sen. Kyle Loveless opposes SQ 779 - NonDoc. Senator Loveless makes a very good point and in fact adds another point to the ones we mentioned above. He stated in part “By raising the sales tax, we would make virtually impossible for local governments---especially cities and towns---to increase taxes for local projects. Much like Oklahoma City has done with the MAPS program, city and county governments can increase sales taxes for a variety of projects, from improving public safety to quality of life. However, if the state sales tax is already high, voters will likely turn their noses from these proposals.” What he didn’t say was this increase will make Oklahoma the highest sales tax paying state in the nation. Can anyone tell us who is going to want to relocate a business to this state after that. You might as well start making plans to go visit your kids and grandkids on the holidays.
The next article of interest we found was this Players and Money Behind Penny Sales Tax Campaigns | Oklahoma Watch. Oklahoma‘s Children Our Future, a tax exempt group according to the IRS, expexts to spend $6.8 million this election season. We find the name chosen for the group to be misleading and deceptive. While Oklahoma’s Children should indeed be our future, making us one of the highest paying taxed states in the union will only drive our children away. Not necessarily because they want to go, but because the state will lose the ability to diversify the economy from an agricultural and oil base into other ventures which will draw. This organization doesn’t sound like it has the children’s welfare in mind at all. It appears to have their bank accounts in mind only.
Then we found this article Educate Oklahoma: Breaking Down State Question 779 - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |. Right off the bat the alleged $600 million this was supposed to raise on an annual basis is reduced to $427.4 million. Of that the first $369 million will go to teacher pay raises. So there goes the lock box Mr. Keith mentioned in the ad he did for these people. The rest is alleged to go towards recruitment initiatives, based on the student population of each district. Now remember folks there is nothing tied to this sales tax. There is no sunset date on it. We, as citizens and parents, will not see an increase in the quality of our educators. All we will see is a mass migration of our children leaving the state to find jobs unavailable here because the taxes are too high.
The next article we found was this Voting no on State Question 779 | News OK. Now this is actually a letter to the editor but it makes several good points. How can we as citizens vote to raise the taxes on everyone while our legislature doesn’t have the gumption to even raise sales tax on cigarettes. How can we raise the taxes on ordinary citizens when our legislators give $2 billion dollars a year away in tax credits mostly to the firms that get them re-elected.
The next item of interest we found was this Lamb opposed to State Question 779 | News | edmondsun.com. This is one of many articles we could find of state, city, and county officials who stand against this legislation. To us we see this as a betrayal by the legislature of the people. Should the teachers have received a pay raise before now? Without doubt. Do they deserve a $5,000.00 a pay raise for importunity no way.
They say this is for the kids, but in the end it’s the same old shuck and jive that the teachers unions have been feeding the public for decades. It’s for their children not yours. They want the same things we want. To put better things on the table. To afford better clothes for the kids and to afford them a college education. The difference is they want to do it off the back of people who work hard every day while they, in most cases, indoctrinate our children in the Marxist theology we call public education today.
In the end this may not change a lot of minds. We do call on the Oklahoma Board of Regents to remove President David Boren from his post at the University of Oklahoma. As the initiator of this petition and the driving force behind it, the mere fact of asking for funds for higher education from the tax means that he directly benefits from it and nullifies his contract with the state.