Statement from Senator Cal Hobson,
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education
"If Governor Keating gets his way on tax cuts, you can kiss any kind of teacher pay raise goodbye. You can also forget about delivering any significant new dollars to the classroom. Three-hundred million dollars is a pretty big bite to take out of the budget of a low tax state, especially when you consider the fact that half of our revenue goes to education. It's also going to be pretty tough to swallow because we've already made multi-million dollar spending commitments on roads, prisons and other items that will come due next year."
"Our Governor needs to realize that he can't keep whacking away at the education budget pie without seriously affecting classrooms across Oklahoma. We should be talking about how to get more resources into the hands of our teachers and school kids, not devising tax schemes that will take things away from them."
"It's a pretty simple formula under the Oklahoma state budget. For every dollar you cut in taxes, you take at least 50 cents out of the education budget. That means the Governor's $300 million tax cut will result in a $150 million budget reduction for education. So every time Governor Keating says he wants to cut taxes, he's really saying he wants to take money out of our classrooms. No kind of spin or political double talk will change that unpleasant reality."
"The Governor is trying to deliver a tax cut that disproportionately helps the rich at the same time it robs funding from public schools that working families rely on. It's apparently Governor Keating's 21st Century version of robbing from the poor to give to the rich. I don't think that's a very good strategy for improving the state's economic fortunes."
"We're already in the bottom five nationally in school funding and teacher pay. Our Governor wouldn't tolerate it if we held the same lowly ranking in road or prison spending, but he doesn't seem to care when it comes to our public schools. Sometimes I think the Governor won't be satisfied until he drives us to rock bottom in education spending."
"Education's percentage share of the budget pie has declined every year since Governor Keating took office and he's obviously in no hurry to reverse that trend. That's not a very good message to send to CEO's around the country who keep telling us that the best jobs are going to the states with the best school systems and most educated workers."
"By continuing to take money away from our public schools, the Governor is doing the best he can to bring Oklahoma's economic growth to a screeching halt."