While their are some that think additional money is a surplus, the truth of the matter is it's called growth money and it funds our roads and bridges, corrections, schools, and other vital services the citizens of Oklahoma need.
Our press release follows and there are others (Tulsa World) that address the tax cuts too.
Standstill Budget Direct Result of Tax Cuts
Educators statewide said the “standstill budget” agreed upon by lawmakers Wednesday is a direct result of tax cuts. Most state agencies will not get an increase despite rising operational costs.
“Tax cuts are the reason we have this mess. We would have had enough money to invest in our schools, roads and bridges and other vital state agencies if our legislators hadn’t enacted $560 million worth the tax cuts,” said Roy Bishop, Oklahoma Education Association President.
Education leaders are not sure the budget is even at a standstill.
“Despite stable economic growth in Oklahoma, the legislature has $114 million less to spend this year and who knows what will happen this coming year,” Bishop said.
Bishop said legislators promised to increase teacher salaries to the regional average and now they say there simply isn’t enough money.
“They failed to keep the promise they made to teachers and the citizens of Oklahoma,” said Jill Dudley, Moore Association of Classroom Teachers President. “We will see quality, experienced educators leave the profession.”
Some say a standstill budget would be palatable if all of the other expenses were standing still. The price of everything from fuel to a dozen eggs is increasing while our state revenue is decreasing.
Education leaders fear the worst is yet to come.
If the permanent tax cuts enacted a few years ago continue, lawmakers can expect $215 million more in lost revenue over the next two years.
“Investing in education would have grown the economy more than the tax cuts will,” Bishop said.