Keating Tax Commission Appointee Says Stitt Plan to Fund Education Would Require 50 Percent Property Tax Increase on Every Oklahoman
A former vice chairman of the Oklahoma Tax Commission is blowing holes in Kevin Stitt’s latest plan to fund education.
On his website, Stitt says, “I like the policy proposed by a conservative group of House legislators to give schools the flexibility to use part of their current property tax revenue on teacher pay instead of being restricted to buildings and infrastructure.”
Despite offering few specifics, Stitt said he has a plan to get us to #1 in the region for teacher salaries. The only revenue Stitt has mentioned in his plan would come from property tax increases.
“But if Mr. Stitt thinks the teacher walkout was just about a pay raise, he wasn’t listening to the teachers,” Edmondson said. “We need to get more money in classrooms. We need text books that weren’t written in the last century, and we need to invest in our kids the way the states around us do.”
For Oklahoma to get to #1 in the region on student spending is a huge lift. According to the National Education Association, in 2017 per pupil spending in Oklahoma was $9,219, putting Oklahoma last in the region and 47th in the country.
Former Tax Commission Vice Chairman Jerry Johnson, who was appointed to his post by Republican Governor Frank Keating, says to hit #1 in the region for per pupil spending, Oklahoma would need an additional $1.9 billion in revenue.
“Raising that kind of revenue off property taxes would require a 50 percent tax hike on all property owners,” Johnson said.
“Stitt’s plan would require drawing property tax revenue away from infrastructure to pay teachers and fund per pupil expenditures,” Edmondson said. “I have yet to talk to a single teacher or school administrator who thinks that’s a good idea. School buildings are already crumbling.
“Kevin Stitt would rather raise property taxes on Oklahoma families than require big oil and gas companies to pay the same gross production tax they’re already paying in Texas,” Edmondson said. “Enough is enough. We’ve heard for eight years now that our schools have enough money. That’s just not true.”
Edmondson’s plan would require no new taxes on Oklahoma families. Instead, he’ll restore the gross production tax to its previous rate of 7 percent, eliminate a capital gains exemption that primarily benefits millionaires and increase the price of a pack of cigarettes by 50 cents.
“As governor, I’ll put kids first,” Edmondson said. “I supported the teacher walkout while Mr. Stitt sided with Gov. Fallin against it. Our students and our schools cannot afford another four years of those failed policies.”