3 Reasons to Vote No on Oklahoma State Question 779
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Politics and Activism

3 Reasons to Vote No on Oklahoma State Question 779

Voting yes on SQ779 would be a costly error for the state of Oklahoma.

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3 Reasons to Vote No on Oklahoma State Question 779
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I have known many teachers for many years, and have been a beneficiary of the hard work they put into crafting and educating young minds. I have great respect for teachers. I have even felt for a long time that teachers are woefully underpaid. This is what makes it so difficult for me to say that voting yes on Oklahoma State Question 779 would be a huge error. If you are unfamiliar with SQ 779 I recommend Ballotpedia for a quick way to become familiar with the issue. There are a few key points to know before you vote yes.

1) SQ 779 would give higher education $125 million with no real guidelines on how to spend the money.

The text of the ballot measure, the full version of which can be found here, states that the money they receive should be used, "in improving college affordability, or otherwise in the improvement of higher education." This basically says that higher education can use the money however they think fit.

2) The ballot measure is combining things that should not necessarily be combined.

Dave Bond, CEO of the OCPA Impact group puts it perfectly, "President Boren’s ballot petition includes at least four distinct subjects and would force voters who want a teacher pay raise to also accept increasing Oklahoma’s sales tax burden to the highest in the U.S. Oklahoma voters should be protected from having a tax increase logrolled into a proposal to increase teacher pay."

3) There are more efficient ways to increase teacher salaries.

Since increasing teacher salaries seems to be most people's primary focus, the state should attempt to provide for salary increases first. To provide the raises outlined in 779 would take less than $380 million. Rather than increasing everyone's taxes and providing for several areas, the state should find areas to increase taxes in smaller areas and curbing wasteful spending in order to achieve the salary increases. Check out OCPA Impact for a list of wasteful Oklahoma spending.

The question is not if teachers need raises, everyone seems to agree that they do, but rather it is a question of where does the money come from? If you are okay with taking the easy way out, paying one percent more on all of your purchases, and allowing the petition writers to take advantage of the need for teacher raises to advance their own agendas, then by all means vote yes on State Question 779. The other option is to call your legislators and tell them you want to see teachers have raises in FY18 or you won't be voting for them anymore.

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