Lawmakers do deserve a pat on the back for passage of the first legislative state tax increase in 28 years. Educators and public employees deserve praise for applying pressure to get the two parties to reach a compromise and ultimately put up the votes to approve the revenue package.
With that said, Chicken-Fried News has another suggestion for lawmakers: Keep working. That’s right. Lawmakers just made the Arbuckle pie but haven’t placed it in the oven yet. Oklahomans are far from ready to come to the table to take a bite.
Sure, teachers are going to keep rallying behind increasing funding for classroom education. While lawmakers need to set their sights on increasing appropriations for common education, eyes also need to be on the budgets for human services, health, public safety, mental health, corrections, agriculture and more. It’s not just teachers and state employees who have suffered, but rural hospitals, seniors, the developmentally disabled, inmates and many more.
The work continues. Following that historic $447 million revenue bill passage in both chambers, House leadership brought up a trailer bill to repeal the lodging tax, according to Tulsa World.
With 69 votes, the loading tax repeal passed the House. The Senate did their part, sending a reduced HB 1010xx to Gov. Mary Fallin, which she signed. Now, Tulsa World reports, leadership estimates the $447 million revenue package will bring in something in the vicinity of $400 million.
Lesson learned. Oklahomans need to keep their eyes on lawmakers at all times, even in the midst of celebration.