Trying to ensure proper education funding in a state where an Ada elementary schoolgirl uses the same text that Blake Shelton had in 1982-83, Oklahoma teachers have created quite a stir with their walkout. As summarized by Dominique Mosbergen of Huffington Post, the teachers were originally seeking “a $200 million bump in education funding, a $10,000 raise over three years for teachers and a $5,000 raise for support staff.”
Later the Legislature and governor agreed on a bill that raised teacher salaries an average of $6,100 and added $50 million to education funding. Since then, other revenue sources have garnered support and votes, including requiring sales taxes for online purchases, a higher hotel-motel tax, gutting wind-power incentives (while protecting dirty air industries) and increasing gambling options at our casinos.
Now we have publicity hound Tom “Dr. No” Coburn clamoring to stop, or at least delay, the small gains already approved. The very rich can never have enough money. With results doubtful and flexible, let’s examine the tactics being employed.
Gov. Mary Fallin outraged educators by telling CBS News that the striking teachers were “kind of like having a teenage kid that wants a better car.” She followed that dose of disrespect with the unsubstantiated claim that antifa (anti-fascist) militants had joined the striking educators. (I guess if the leader of your party, the president you lobbied for a job, considers nazis “fine people,” the logic demands that GOP opponents are anti-fascists.) What the governor demonstrated was the president’s policy of side-stepping real issues to create an inflammatory side-show.
When pro footballers knelt during the National Anthem to protest social injustice, the Liar-in-Chief branded their actions as anti-military, anti-flag, anti-American, anti-everything to avoid any dialog and whip his racist base into a frenzy.
A trade war with China that punishes farmers – most of whom supported you? Don’t want to talk about your glut-the-rich tax plan? Launch into a campaign-style xenophobic rant about those “Mexican rapists” and the big lie about millions of illegal voters.
And Gov. Fallin’s seven years of goober-notorious failureship destroying education in Oklahoma? She demeans and insults the teachers – and then call for everyone to “lower the tempo of disrespect” which she deliberately initiated.
Offering solutions instead of vitriol, House Democrats tried to establish “sustainable long-term funding,” but have yet to get the GOP-controlled House to even hear “legislation that would have ended the capital gains tax exemption, which has cost Oklahoma more than $460 million over the course of five years and has shown a return investment of just $9 million.”
Republican-controlled House bosses say that won’t make it to the table. This is one of the biggest scams on the GOP agenda. Cut the capital gains tax, they say, and the rich people will re-invest their windfall profits into more jobs. And the facts again? Oklahoma has lost $460 million in revenue the last five years and received $9 million in return.
Are you feeling trickled down on yet?
Stephens County Democrats meet Thursday at 7 p.m. in Room 112 of the Morris Building at Red River Vo-Tech on West Bois D’Arc.
(Gary Edmondson is Stephens County Democratic Party Chair.)