OKLAHOMA CITY – As Oklahoma educators headed to the capitol for the second day in a row, one representative said the group is losing support due to their actions.
Last week, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that raises teachers’ salaries by an average of $6,100. It also gives $1,250 raises for support staff and adds $50 million in education funding.
Teachers said the bill doesn’t do enough to restore funding to classrooms, especially after lawmakers worked to repeal a part of the measure that was expected to generate $50 million.
Educators are working to pressure lawmakers into passing Senate Bill 1086, which would reinstate the capital gains tax. The capital gains tax deduction was passed in 2004 and allows taxpayers to exempt from their taxable income any gains from the sale of property or stocks located in Oklahoma.
According to Oklahoma Policy Institute, the deduction almost entirely benefits wealthy business executives and investors. Officials said nearly three-quarters of the benefit goes to taxpayers making over $1 million annually. Most middle class households are already largely exempt from the capital gains tax under federal law.
On Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers worked to suspend the rules again to try and hear the bill, but that motion was voted down.
Following that vote, the gallery began booing lawmakers on the House floor. Ultimately, the teachers were told to clear the gallery.
Earlier, Rep. Kevin McDugle posted a video to Facebook, criticizing more of the teachers’ alleged actions at the capitol.
“Let me tell you something, I voted for every teacher measure to fund them all last year. It took us a year-and-a-half to pass it. Now, they come into this House, they want to act this way. I’m not voting for another stinking measure when they’re acting the way they’re acting. Our kids follow their example, and this is the example they set. I understand the frustration, but this is not the way to go about it. You’re losing support of people who supported you all year long. All year long, we supported you and now you’re going to come here and act like this after you got a raise? Go right ahead. Be pissed at me if you want to,” McDugle said in the video.
The Facebook video was ultimately taken down.
McDugle told News 4 he has seen teachers blocking doors of legislators, possible vandalism and other unacceptable behavior.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol told News 4 it has not handled reports of vandalism or death threats nor did it threaten to arrest teachers. It said the House chamber was cleared, however, due to noise levels.