Anti-tax group plans to go after education funding

OKLAHOMA CITY - The group, Oklahoma Taxpayers United, plans to start collecting signatures next week to overturn the historic education funding signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin just before the teacher walkout began.

“Raising taxes should be your last option and not your first,” said Ronda Vuillemont-Smith with Oklahoma Taxpayers United.

If the group gets a little more than 42,000 signatures, it would cause a veto referendum to be put on the ballot in November and Oklahomans could vote if they want to keep those tax increases or not.

“It will reverse the funding and will force them to have to find money elsewhere because there is money elsewhere to be found,” said Vuillemont-Smith.

The spokesperson for Oklahoma Taxpayers United says they want fully funded education and teacher pay raises, they just think there are other ways than raising taxes to find that money.

“They can get raises. There’s money in the Commission Land Office. There’s money in other areas, just like with the wind subsidies. So there’s money available out here,” said Vuillemont-Smith.

“It takes those taxes to create that recurring revenue that we need to have there year after year. If not, it’s going to be one time money and it’ll be an unfunded mandate on a district,” said Oklahoma Education Association Vice President, Katherine Bishop. “We would be absolutely against this measure and we would be doing everything to defeat that measure.”

“It’s time that the teachers to go back. You got a raise. You’re guaranteed that raise. We’re not going after their raise,” said Vuillemont-Smith.

The veto referendum would only be looking to reverse the funding for the teacher pay raise, not the actual raise, which was signed into law under a different bill.