Compare and Contrast: Making the right decision on how to fund storm shelters in schools

Building Safer Schools
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OKLAHOMA – It’s something you will vote on in November, storm shelters in Oklahoma schools.

It can be overwhelming. There are so many different opinions on how to fund installing storm shelters in schools statewide.

Politics aside, what does each proposal really mean?

From tornado destruction, to a political battle.

Both sides want to see school children sheltered from twisters but how to get there is the problem.

Representative Joe Dorman says, “My plan is the only plan that does not raise taxes.”

Spokesman for Governor Fallin, Alex Weintz says, “We believe we have a way that`s realistic.”

Right now there are two proposed legislative plans. It boils down to Representative Joe Dorman versus Governor Fallin.

Dorman wants to use the franchise tax. It’s a tax on corporations doing $2 million or more of business.

The bigger the business the more you pay, from $250 to $20,000.

Governor Fallin wants to increase property taxes.

Her plan would allow school districts to use more bond money than they are now and would be decided on a local level, meaning not every school in the state has to say yes.

But there is one thing they both agree on, putting shelters in schools that want them statewide.

OCU economics professor Jonathan Willner says the difference in the two is who fits the bill.

“Each tax targets different groups of people immediately,” says Willner.

For example, under Dorman’s plan Devon Energy would contribute $20,000 a year towards funding school shelters.

According to Joe Dorman and his campaign officials, under Governor Fallin’s plan a $100,000 home would pay over $300 more in property taxes.

“I’d go ahead and put it on the franchise tax instead of a property tax,” says Willner. “But only because of the current state of the economy.”

Willner thinks right now corporations have more money to work with than Oklahoma homeowners.

But the feelings seem to be mutual among Oklahoma parents, put aside the partisan back and forth.

It doesn’t matter how you get there, just get there.

Both pieces of legislation, if passed, would show up on the ballot as a state question for you to check yes or no.


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