OKLAHOMA CITY – Another step was taken toward passing an initiative to boost pay for teachers and supporting staff in Oklahoma City, which would be paid for with revenue from what would be the first ever city income tax.
Ward 2 City Councilman Ed Shadid brought 16,000 signatures for a petition to get the measure put on the ballot. He only needed 12,000.
“We had no problem convincing citizens of Oklahoma City that this was a good idea to put on the ballot,” Shadid said.
He started the initiative in response to the growing education crisis in the state. Shadid is urging city residents to take matters into their own hands.
“It’s time for another path. It’s time for, at this time, that the legislature seems bent on creating a failed state, for the people of Oklahoma City to get to vote on how much they want to fund Oklahoma City schools,” Shadid said.
The half-of-a-percent tax would be calculated after deductions. A person who makes $40,000 a year would pay about $50.
Individuals who make less than $15,000 a year, or couples who make less than $30,000 a year would be exempt.
The tax is written to expire after four years.
“Let’s try something for a few years and see how it works out,” Shadid said. "And if we need to adjust it, we’ll come back to the voters.”
He insists this move would be more feasible than a similar previously failed proposal based on a sales tax.
“The sales tax would have been very difficult,” Shadid said. “It was permanent. It would have taken perhaps constitutional measures to reverse it.”
Now, it will be up the the mayor to introduce it to city council, then to city council to put it on the ballot.
“All we’re asking is that we be allowed to let the people join the process,” Shadid said. “The legislators clearly cannot do their job.”
The earliest voters could see the measure on the ballot is next April.