tax

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

About 100 teachers and school administrators filed for political office in the 2018 election. Most are not shy about supporting the first tax increase in nearly three decades, even though it’s a progressive political message in a deeply conservative state.

Pro-tax campaigns from educators seem to be resonating with voters in many parts of Oklahoma — but not everywhere.

Polarizing tax package

More Americans will be writing a check to the IRS in April because their employers are not withholding enough from their paychecks following the new tax law, the Government Accountability Office says in a new report.

More than $3 billion worth of U.S. goods — from bourbon and corn to Harley-Davidson motorcycles — are now subject to a 25 percent tariff in the European Union, in retaliation for the Trump administration's tariffs that hit the EU, Mexico and Canada this month.

"The trade that we believe in is built on rules, trust and reliable partnership," Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU Commission, said in a speech in Dublin on Thursday night. "The United States' decision to impose tariffs on Europe goes against that. In fact, it goes against all logic and history."

When the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 1010xx in March, it was the first time lawmakers had increased state taxes in 28 years. Both the House and the Senate applauded themselves.

The governor acted swiftly to sign the bill, and at first, it seemed like a reason for school leaders to celebrate. They had been begging lawmakers to increase teacher pay for years, and it finally happened.

But the excitement quickly faded.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about an attempt by a group backed by former Senator Tom Coburn to veto the tax increases which are funding pay raises for teachers, support staff and state workers and lawmakers push through some questionable bills and leaves some on the table in its plan to end the 2018 legislative session three weeks early.

After passing teacher pay raises and providing revenue to fund them, some lawmakers thought the teacher walkout would be short lived. However, as the walkout closes in on its fourth day, some are wondering what the options are to provide more revenue to fund education and other core state services.

Following are some of the options lawmakers have talked about in the past that could still be on the table. They have varying levels of support, which is tricky when considering the super majority new revenue measures require. 

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Updated 7:11 p.m.

As House members were preparing to adjourn, Republican Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols announced that he had just been notified by the state Senate that they would hear House Bill 1013XX on Thursday. 

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After months of gridlock and failed deal-making, the Oklahoma House and Senate have passed a nearly $450 million tax package designed to fund raises for teachers and avoid statewide school closures.

Gov. Mary Fallin said she’ll sign the tax package, which fell short of teachers’ demands. Educators still plan to march at the Capitol April 2 to pressure lawmakers to spend more on schools and public employees and continue a debate that has highlighted growing gaps and frustrations over taxes and government.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the State House and Senate agreeing to send the governor a $474M tax increase to fund pay raises for teachers, school support staff and state workers. Meanwhile, the Board of Corrections calls on lawmakers to provide $9M in supplemental funds just to pay bills over the next three months.

Sug Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma has done something many political watchers didn’t think was possible: the Republican-controlled legislature has approved a tax increase to give teachers a pay raise.

Teachers in the state say they need more money, and they’ll stick to their planned walkout next week. The Department of Education is just one state agency that’s contending with a worsening budget crisis after years of tax cuts didn’t have the results state lawmakers were hoping for.

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