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Oklahoma struggles to pay for schools after slashing taxes

By SEAN MURPHY
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Four years ago, Oklahoma's oil patch was booming, and state lawmakers were debating what to do with $200 million in surplus revenue.

Republicans successfully pushed to reduce the state's top income tax rate and slash the oil and gas production tax.

But the boom ended. Now the quest for lower taxes has given way to a growing panic over how to pay for basic services such as public schools, health care and public safety.

In recent months, highway patrol troopers have been warned not to fill their fuel tanks because of mileage restrictions. And nearly 100 of the state's 513 school districts have moved to four-day weeks. Gov. Mary Fallin has proposed raising some fees and taxes, but it's not clear lawmakers will agree.

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