Oklahoma Senate passes revenue measures to fund educationOKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Friday approved measures that will send millions of new dollars into Oklahoma classrooms. The Senate gave approval to HB 1019xx, a bill that requires online marketplaces like Amazon to collect and remit sales tax to Oklahoma or comply with the state’s notification requirements. The Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates the bill will generate $20.5 million annually.
“The Oklahoma Senate has shown repeatedly its commitment to students and teachers first by passing the largest teacher pay raise in state history and now by approving measures providing millions of dollars in new funding for Oklahoma classrooms,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus.The Oklahoma Senate last week approved a teacher pay raise bill, giving Oklahoma teachers a $6,100 pay raise on average. The pay raise bill already has been signed into law. To fund the teacher pay raises and provide millions of dollars in funding for textbooks and teacher health care benefits, the Senate also gave approval to revenue measures generating $530 million in new, recurring revenue to fully and perpetually fund the raises and increased education spending.
“Increasing average teacher pay in Oklahoma to the second-highest in our region and putting more dollars into the classroom will help us retain and recruit quality, professional educators to help our students and our state succeed. As we move forward, the Senate stands committed to considering additional ways to put more dollars into our classrooms, as wells as reforms that best serve students, parents and teachers,” Schulz said.The Senate on Friday also gave approval to HB 3375, the so-called “ball and dice” gaming bill. For the current fiscal year, the Oklahoma Tax Commission cannot certify revenue generated by this bill. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the state’s gaming compliance agency, anticipates the measure will bring new revenue into the state. Last week, the Oklahoma Senate approved the FY’19 education budget bill, only the second time the April 1 “Fund Education First” deadline has been met by the Legislature. The education budget, which has been signed into law, allocates more than $2.9 billion to Oklahoma schools, a 19 percent increase from the previous year.