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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma (AFP-OK) on Tuesday criticized House members for approving a massive tax package aimed at appeasing teachers’ unions and preventing a strike.
“The House obeyed the special interests, chose to ignore the people, and passed a huge tax package, only to find the plan doesn’t meet teachers’ unions demands and they still plan to strike,” said John Tidwell, AFP-OK State Director. “They are Charlie Brown, and Lucy just yanked the football away. No one wants to see a teacher strike, but Oklahomans also understand our state’s already-fragile financial situation cannot sustain more spending, and they don’t want to see the benefits of federal tax reform wiped out by more taxes. We hope our senators are not as tone deaf as their House counterparts.”
“The OEA’s double-speak on the House plan shows its motives are purely political and not in the best interests of children and families,” Tidwell continued. “Why continue to negotiate with groups who are clearly not good faith partners?”
Tidwell sent a letter to lawmakers on behalf of AFP-OK’s over 40,000 activists which outlined the group’s objections to the bill and outlined a possible solution that doesn’t raise taxes and still funds a considerable teacher pay raise.
The letter in part read:
There is a better plan out there, a better way to do this. It funds a $4,300 pay raise, pushing us more than $850 above the regional average and doesn’t raise taxes. If Oklahoma schools were required to spend 60% of their budgets on classroom instruction, rather than the 55% average they spend now, it would mean more than $4,300 in additional income for teachers.
And the group’s activists are engaged as well. Over the past weeks, AFP-OK activists have sent tens of thousands of emails to lawmakers and Governor Fallin expressing their opposition to any new taxes, which was demonstrated as the Step Up Plan failed to get the support it needed in the legislature.
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