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Anti-tax petitioners and teachers get organized for fight over teacher pay raise funding

Anti-tax petitioners and teachers get organized for fight over teacher pay raise funding

Group wants referendum that could repeal tax hikes tied to raises

Tulsa World
By Samuel Hardiman
May 10, 2018 

A referendum petition to repeal tax increases that fund teacher pay raises has rival groups of anti-tax petitioners and teachers gearing up for a fight.

The members of Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite are tasked with gathering 41,142 signatures by mid-July in order to get a referendum petition — what would be State Question 799 — on the ballot.

The group’s leader, Ronda Vuillemont-Smith describes it as a grassroots organization — with members across the state — united by a belief that the public should ultimately decide whether taxes should go up.

“We don’t believe that it was necessary that we raise taxes to give the teachers a pay raise,” said Vuillemont-Smith. “There’s plenty of money there. We believe that before taxes should be raised there need to be audits, there need to be reforms — that every other avenue should be exhausted. That should be the last resort.”

Vuillemont-Smith’s words this week were a page right out of the book of the group’s spokesman, former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. During a news conference announcing the petition drive, Coburn said, “Teachers were a pawn in this. Why is it we can’t gain efficiencies? FULL ARTICLE

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