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Supreme Court allows penny tax to go to vote

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) –The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling will allow a proposed one-cent sales tax increase to go to a vote of the people.

The proposed sales tax increase, Initiative Petition No. 403, was put forth by a group of educators and business leaders in hopes of generating about $615 million each year to help fund education. The revenue would also allow teachers to receive a $5,000 pay raise.

OCPA Impact and a few petitioners filed a suit against the ballot initiative, claiming the proposal violated the Oklahoma constitution because it covered more than one general subject. They say the increase in education funding, which includes higher education, account for more than 40 percent of the estimated funds raised by the tax increase. The group says that use of the money for education, the teacher pay raises and the increased sale tax counts as three separate issues. They say a fourth aspect of the proposition includes accepting a “constitutional restructuring of the appropriations process in which four members of the Board of Equalization would have the power to give instructions to the Legislature about education funding and to prevent the Legislature from funding other agencies until those instructions are met.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled against the complaint. In a 6-3 ruling, the one-cent sales tax proposition will be allowed to go to a vote of the people.

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