A group will soon start circulating an initiative petition to raise the state sales tax by one penny to raise money for education.
They would have 90 days to get 123,000 signatures. If successful, the idea would get on the ballot on November of 2016.
This is not a good plan.
First, more money won’t fix public education in Oklahoma. The problems are deeply rooted. The moral slide as a big problem. God has been effectively removed from the classrooms in favor of “diversity” and political correctness (translation: secularism).
Oklahoma already spends enough on education but it isn’t going to the right places. Half of the budget goes to non-teachers. A proper realignment of those funds would give teacher salaries a boost. Another problem is the overspending on administration. Oklahoma has more than 500 school districts with superintendents who make six figures. Some consolidation would save a ton of money.
The other part of this is the cost to our citizens. Sales taxes are the most regressive, with a disproportionate impact on poor people and the middle class. The state’s average sales tax is 8.77 percent – the sixth highest in the country. The state portion of that is a whopping 4.5 percent.
Raising state sales tax would restrict sales tax options for cities. And raising state sales tax would essentially eliminate any future discussion of cutting sales tax on groceries.
Put God back in public schools. Lay off excess administrators. Consolidate rural school districts. These are much better options than raising sales taxes.