Governor Fallin signs revenue package funding teacher pay raises

Governor Mary Fallin signs three pieces of legislation granting teacher pay raises and tax increases to fund them. (KOKH/Anthony West)

Governor Mary Fallin has signed a revenue package funding teacher pay raises Thursday.

The governor was joined by legislators as she signed three pieces of legislation March 29. The plan, which has passed through both the House and Senate this week, was originally designed to generate around $450 million through increased taxes on cigarettes, fuel, lodging and oil and gas production. Before the package could be sent to the governor, the House voted to repeal the hotel and motel tax. The tax was expected to raise approximately $47 million a year.

Fallin said that teacher pay raises have been a priority for her and lawmakers for several years.

"It took many efforts and many tries." Fallin said. "I applaud our elected officials for having great courage...and stamina."

The legislation will give Oklahoma teachers a 15 to 18 percent raise depending on their experience. Revenue for the raises comes from a change in itemized deductions, a rise in the gross production tax to five percent, adds a $1 cigarette tax, a 3 cent tax to gas and a 6 cent tax to diesel.

"In the end, they (lawmakers) came forward and did the right thing for the State of Oklahoma and our future," Fallin said.

The Oklahoma Education Association gave lawmakers until April 1 to restore education funding and deliver pay raises to Oklahoma teachers and public employees. The OEA tells FOX 25 teachers still plan to rally at the Capitol on April 2.

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