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Statement from CEO of organization that filed constitutional challenge of “penny” tax ballot petition

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OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 10, 2015) – Dave Bond, CEO of OCPA Impact, Inc., issued a statement today in response to comments by University of Oklahoma President David Boren on the constitutional challenge of Initiative Petition 403, the “penny” sales tax proposal:

“President Boren’s recent criticism of our challenge of his tax increase proposal is not well founded. The Oklahoma Constitution protects the rights of voters to vote separately on important issues instead of having them logrolled into one proposition.

“For example, President Boren’s proposal would force Oklahoma voters who want a teacher pay raise to also accept a sales tax increase that would force Oklahoma families, veterans, seniors, and teachers themselves, to pay the highest sales tax burden in America, yet voters would not be allowed to separately vote on those issues. Those are critically important decisions, and Oklahoma voters should be protected from having them logrolled into a proposal to increase teacher pay. Our challenge does not diminish the rights of Oklahoma voters, but protects the rights of Oklahoma voters in accordance with the Oklahoma Constitution.

“President Boren’s assertion that opponents of his proposal have not offered an alternative plan to fund teacher pay raises is also mistaken. On the day we filed our challenge, we also announced an alternative action plan to fully fund $5,000 pay raises for every teacher in the state and also fund the hiring of 1,000 additional teachers.”

OCPA Impact, Inc., is a nonpartisan advocacy organization. On Nov. 12, the organization filed a challenge with the Oklahoma Supreme Court that Initiative Petition 403 violates the Oklahoma Constitution’s single-subject rule. The Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the challenge Wednesday, Dec. 16.

The organization has also presented an alternative action plan for providing an average $5,000 salary increase for every public school teacher in Oklahoma, as well as hiring an additional 1,000 classroom teachers, without increasing taxes or hindering generally agreed upon core state government services The plan can be viewed here.