Motor fuel taxes to go to roads and bridges, not education

OKLAHOMA CITY - There was unrest at the capitol on Tuesday as lawmakers debated House Bill 1014xx and worried about whether promises made to education can continue to be funded in years two, three and beyond.

“Representative, I get where you’re saying that you believe this body will fund education. But that’s not a guarantee that we will,” said Rep. Matt Meredith, (D) District 4.

“The concept was that that extra fuel tax would go to education,” said Rep. David Perryman, (D) District 56.

House Bill 1014xx ended up passing easily out of the House.

For year two, it sends motor fuel taxes to the Department of Transportation, instead of education.

And, income tax that used to go to DOT will now go into the general revenue fund, which funnels money to education.

“The guarantee here is a dollar for dollar, dollar gas, dollar diesel goes in, dollar comes out, goes into the general revenue fund, the general revenue funds education and everywhere else," said Rep. Dustin Roberts, (R) District 21.

"My big concern is the money coming in on the backside, the dollar for dollar swap, really needs to be dedicated to education,” said Rep. Meredith.

"They're not in agreement, you know, about earmarking that revenue for specifically education,” said Moore teacher, Theresa Mosier.

Many teachers who witnessed the debate say the money swapping makes them uneasy.

"It goes into the general revenue fund and that means everyone's scrapping for what's there. Which means it's not going to come to us in education even though they promised it will,” said Enid teacher, Cathy Benge.

House leadership, though, says they remain committed to sticking with the promises they’ve made to education.

"Everything we have done is reoccurring. Educators have no fear that they're not going to be able to continue with that 20% increase. In fact - they've been guaranteed by both the majority and the minority that this is the first year of a process to move forward,” said House floor leader, Jon Echols, (R) District 90.