Teachers, anti-tax group pushing for your vote ahead of primaries

Teachers, anti-tax group pushing for your vote ahead of primaries (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- An anti-tax group is starting over after a petition to repeal several tax increases was denied by the Supreme Court.

Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite (OTU) created a petition to put the tax increase to a vote for the people, but that was denied on Friday.

House Bill 1010XX is secure, at least for now.

The measure raises taxes on cigarettes, energy production and fuel, which will provide money to go toward teacher pay raises.

"These are unnecessary and burdensome on a specific demographic of people," Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, co-founder of OTU said.

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Vuillemont-Smith says we don't need to raise taxes to give teachers a raise.

"We have a $1.3 billion surplus we could use," she said. "Let's look at the constitution, let's look at the way we budget, let's look at the way they spend the money."

Longtime teacher Paige White says OTU has valid points.

"I do personally believe that yes we do need some government reform," she said. "I am sure that they are right when it comes to they need to audit this and find money elsewhere, but why do I have to wait? Where were you the last ten years?"

The Supreme Court ruled against the petition, saying the wording was misleading.

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OTU can file another petition next month.

Should the question to repeal the tax make it on the ballot, White is asking voters for a favor.

"Please go out and vote," she said. "Let your voice be heard, show these people that yes you want a better education for your children. It is not just teacher raises, if it was we wouldn't have had the walkout."

Until the primary next week, both sides say they will be pushing for what they believe is best for Oklahoma.

OTU is still deciding if they will file a second petition.

If so, the group must get more than 40,000 signatures before July 18th.

Vuillemont-Smith says regardless, OTU won't be going away and they will continue to push for candidates who are against taxation.

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