Tag Archives: David Boren

OCPA Impact offers updated plan for Oklahoma teacher pay raise with no tax increases

On Thursday, April 21, Univ. of Oklahoma President David Boren delivered 308,000 signatures to the Oklahoma Capitol to put on the ballot his proposal, which would increase Oklahoma’s sales tax burden to #1 in the U.S. in order to fund teacher pay raises and increase other government spending.

Once again, OCPA Impact stood up to offer another path: Oklahoma lawmakers need to increase teacher pay in this 2016 legislative session, without increasing taxes.

The same day as President Boren’s signature delivery, we released a new, updated plan featuring $753 million in options for providing the $245 million necessary to give every Oklahoma public school classroom teacher a $5,000 pay raise.

To provide the teacher pay raise, lawmakers only need to utilize one-third of the options presented in our plan. To read our plan for a teacher pay raise without a tax increase, click here!

Media coverage of the dual announcements by President Boren and OCPA Impact included: KOKH Fox 25 (link), KOCO 5 News (link), The Oklahoman (link), KRMG radio/Associated Press (link), Enid News & Eagle/CNHI (link), KOSU radio (link) and NonDoc (link).

To date, OCPA Impact is the only group presenting a plan at the Oklahoma Capitol for a $5,000 teacher pay raise without raising taxes. With thousands of Oklahoma families having lost their jobs as oil prices have fallen, raising taxes is not the answer. Despite this, public education advocacy groups have endorsed the Boren tax increase 100%.

We are actively putting our plan for funding a teacher pay raise in the hands of lawmakers at the state Capitol and their constituents back home. Even with a $1.3 billion budget hole, it is very doable for lawmakers to pass a teacher pay raise by May 27, when the legislative session ends.

Statement on Court’s ruling on Boren tax ballot petition

On Jan. 12, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on OCPA Impact’s constitutional challenge of Initiative Petition 403, Univ. of Oklahoma President David Boren’s proposed “penny tax” ballot measure. That same day, Dave Bond, CEO of OCPA Impact, released the following statement:

“In the coming months, we will continue our effort to prevent the Boren tax increase, making sure all Oklahomans understand the Boren proposal would force them to pay the highest sales tax burden in the nation, and nearly half the money from the tax increase would never go to teachers.

“We’ll also work during the legislative session, which is about to begin, to advance an alternative option for funding real pay raises for every teacher in Oklahoma and hiring additional teachers to address the shortages many classrooms face across the state. This can be accomplished without teachers having to give up a portion of their pay raise because of a tax increase, and if the Legislature acts this session, teachers can start receiving the pay raise immediately, as opposed to next year.”

Learn more about the group’s alternative proposal for increasing teacher salaries at www.StopHigherTaxesOK.com.

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

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.

Read the briefs: Our challenge of Boren tax increase’s constitutionality

On Thursday, Nov. 12, we filed a challenge with the Oklahoma Supreme Court that Initiative Petition 403–University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s sales tax increase proposal–violates the state Constitution’s single-subject rule.

Immediately after filing the challenge, we held a press briefing outside the Oklahoma Judicial Center, which houses the state Supreme Court. Below, please find all four items we distributed to members of the press at the briefing:

-Application to resume original jurisdiction (filed Nov. 12 with Oklahoma Supreme Court)

Brief in support of application to resume original jurisdiction (also filed Nov. 12 with Oklahoma Supreme Court)

-Press release

-One-pager outlining our alternative proposal for funding $5,000 pay raises for all current Oklahoma classroom teachers and hiring 1,000 additional teachers — without a tax increase and without hurting core state government services, such as education, roads, bridges, infrastructure, public safety or the safety net for the truly less fortunate

2015.11.12 Application to Assume Original Jurisdiction (1)

2015.11.12 Brief in Support of Application to Assume Original Jurisdicti… (1)

OCPA Impact petition challenge press release 11 12 2015

Stop Higher Taxes_Media

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OCPA Impact challenges constitutionality of Boren tax increase

Last week, we filed a formal protest with the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Initiative Petition 403, the proposal by University of Oklahoma President David Boren to fund teacher salary increases by making Oklahomans pay the nation’s highest sales tax burden.

The ballot petition is a textbook example of logrolling. Oklahoma teachers deserve a pay raise, but voters need to know there’s a lot more in Pres. Boren’s petition than just a tax increase and a teacher pay raise.

We also offered an alternative plan to fund teacher salary increases–and hire 1,000 additional classroom teachers–by eliminating portions of over $617 million in identified wasteful or nonessential state government spending.

A strong majority of Oklahomans want a pay raise for teachers, to reward and retain the people making a difference in the lives of children in the classroom. This can be done without a misleading, unconstitutional money grab.

Initiative Petition 403, filed in October, violates the Oklahoma Constitution’s single-subject rule because it contains at least four distinct subjects.

Subject #1–Teacher pay raise: The first general subject of the petition is a $5,000 pay raise for public school teachers.

Subject #2–Unrelated funding: To secure the pay raise for teachers, voters will have to agree to a tax increase from which over 40 percent of the funds will go toward items other than teacher salaries. This separate money, unrelated to teacher salaries–much of it unrelated even to common education–is the petition’s second subject.

Subject #3–Sales tax: The third subject is that voters who favor the teacher pay raise must accept that it would be funded through a 22-percent increase of the state sales tax rate. After taking into account municipal and county sales taxes, along with the state’s current sales tax rate of 4.5 percent, the Boren tax increase would give Oklahoma the nation’s highest average combined state-and-local sales tax burden–9.7 percent–according to the Tax Foundation.

As well, Tulsa and Oklahoma City would have the third- and fourth-highest sales tax burdens, respectively, among major U.S. cities, trailing only Chicago and Seattle.

Subject #4–State appropriations process: The fourth subject is that the petition would force voters who favor the teacher pay raise to accept a restructuring, within the state’s Constitution, of the state government appropriations process. The state Board of Equalization–an executive-branch entity–would have the authority to instruct the Legislature on how to fund education and most other areas of state government.

The ballot petition clearly violates the one-general-subject rule of Article XXIV, Section 1 of the Oklahoma Constitution.

By comparison, in 2004, Oklahoma voters approved creation of the Oklahoma Lottery, from which some revenues were to be used to fund education.

However, the Lottery was presented to voters in two separate ballot questions. The first, State Question 705, created the Oklahoma Lottery Commission for the purpose of operating the lottery. The second, State Question 706, created the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund, to be the conduit for a portion of proceeds to fund education.

As explained in our filing, the state Supreme Court has previously opposed logrolling on the grounds that “voters should not have to adopt measures of which they really disapprove in order to embrace positions that they favor.”

Initiative Petition 403 is not legally sufficient to be submitted for a vote of the people. The Court should not allow the petition to advance to the signature-gathering stage.

The traditional concept of logrolling is that you roll up something people like with something they don’t like. Citizens then vote for the thing they like, such as a teacher pay raise, but end up saddled with the thing they didn’t favor, such as paying the highest sales taxes in the nation.

A better way to increase teacher salaries is to eliminate wasteful or nonessential state spending, which is achievable without hurting other core services.

The National Education Association estimated Oklahoma had 42,027 classroom teachers during the 2014-15 school year, with an average salary of $44,628.

To give every teacher an average pay raise of $5,000 and hire another 1,000 teachers at an average salary of $49,628, using a multiplier of 1.5 to estimate benefits, would cost $284.5 million.

For a list of wasteful and nonessential spending in Oklahoma’s state government, totaling $617.3 million, that could be eliminated to fund teacher pay raises and hire more teachers, visit www.StopHigherTaxesOK.com.

[Photo credit: Oklahoma Watch]