OKLAHOMA - Senator David Holt (R) District 30 said he's heard all the excuses.
"People saying, well, how are we going to do it? I just don't see how we can get it done. You know, it's a tough budget year," Holt said.
But, he said the 12 bills he just filed prove getting teachers a pay raise can be done.
"What I came forward with today was a billion dollars worth of revenue options," Holt said.
Holt filed one bill proposing a $10,000 pay raise for every teacher in Oklahoma.
And, he filed 12 additional ones that would provide funding options for the raise.
One of those bills proposes capturing the first $200 million in new revenue growth and dedicating it to the teacher pay raises.
"In a year or two, I think we're going to have budget expansion. And, of course the pressure's going to be, well, to put the money back to where you cut it. But, I think our highest priority needs to be the teacher pay raise," Holt said.
Some of the other bills include ending the controversial wind energy tax credit, decreasing the number of superintendents in the state, lowering funding to counties for road repairs and exempting teachers from all Oklahoma income tax obligations.
Another one would expand our tax base by taxing repair, maintenance, delivery and installation of taxable goods.
“Having new sales tax apply to things that other states already tax. So, it’s not unreasonable, and it’s not increasing the sales tax rate,” Holt said.
Holt also lists other things he thinks our state could tax like utilities, cable TV, pet grooming, carpet cleaning and landscaping.
“If you look at the list of things, a lot of it is not stuff that everybody needs. You know, it’s swimming pool cleaning and private plane leasing,” Holt said.
Of course, many Oklahomans don’t get excited about expanding taxes.
“It’s a very cruel and unfair thing to say Texas has a tax on this service but Oklahoma doesn’t,” said Johnathan Small, president of Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.
Holt said that’s why he’s given the legislature so many options and he’s confident they can find the $550 million needed to give every teacher a $10,000 raise.
Holt’s plan would get teachers that money over a four-year period beginning this fall.
He introduced a similar bill last year, but it failed.