Tax Cuts for the Rich, Budget Cuts for State Agencies
Gov. Fallin’s FY 2014 budget suggests a $50 million increase for Common Education, while reducing funding for Higher Education by $49 million. Common education is slated to receive the lowest share of the state budget since 2000, down from 34.4 percent last year (FY 2013) to just 33.8 percent this year (FY 2014).
Gov. Fallin proposes a 0.25 percent cut to income taxes for the state’s richest residents, despite 39 state agencies receiving budget cuts or flat funding. The tax cuts for the rich will result in $47 million less going to fund essential state programs like schools, healthcare and public safety services next year.
The governor continues to support measures like the Reading Sufficiency Act and A-F Grades for schools, despite not appropriating adequate funding to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes and provide the individualized instruction our students need to succeed.
While the $50 million increase is much needed, Oklahoma schools are still $213 million below pre-recession 2008 funding levels even as enrollment increased by more than 30,000 students. OEA President Linda Hampton responded to the Governor’s State of the State, “Public schools cannot be expected to operate on a 2008 budget and graduate students prepared for a 2014 world.”
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