Gov. Mary Fallin has signed three bills affecting education, including one that would repeal a tax on lodging at hotels and motels, her office announced Tuesday.
She signed House bills 1012XX, 3375 and 1019XX. HB 1012XX repeals the $5 hotel/motel tax, HB 3375 allows tribal casinos to use traditional roulette and dice games and HB 1019XX will require third-party online retail to collect and remit sales tax back to state coffers, officials said.
The House and Senate voted to repeal the hotel/motel tax, which was included as part of HB 1010XX. The tax plan was going to be used to fund $6,100 pay raises for teachers, marking the largest teacher pay increase in Oklahoma history.
HB 1010XX also added $50 million in new revenue for textbooks and school supplies, officials said.
Fallin signed the bill last month.
“The revenue package that funded the teacher pay raises would not have passed the Senate with the required super majority, or three-fourths support, had a bipartisan agreement not been struck to repeal the hotel/motel tax,” Fallin said in a news release.
Last week, Fallin signed a $2.9 billion appropriation bill for common education for the 2019 fiscal year. The appropriation bill provides a 19.7 percent increase over the $2.4 billion appropriation bill for K-12 public education for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The bill includes $353.5 million for teacher pay, $52 million for support personnel pay, $33 million for textbooks, $17 million for state aid formula and $24.7 million for flex health care benefits.
“This shows again that education is a priority with legislative leaders and me,” Fallin said. “The single-most important thing we can do to help Oklahomans have fulfilling and productive lives is improving the quality and outcomes of education.”
Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest issued the following statement:
“Gov. Fallin has spent years doing far too little for public education, so it’s no surprise that she took measures to further neglect students today. The governor and lawmakers keep closing the door on revenue options when Oklahomans are asking for a better path forward. Filing for office starts Wednesday. Public education should be the issue this November. We need candidates who are worthy of our children.”
Ed Allen, Oklahoma-American Federation of Teachers and Oklahoma City president, released the following statement about Fallin signing the bill:
“We are disappointed but not surprised that Gov. Fallin vetoed the hotel/motel-tax bill that would have yielded additional funding for public schools. Over the last two weeks in this fight for Oklahoma’s teachers, we’ve made clear that pitting teachers against kids is a losing strategy. We will keep fighting to make sure there’s funding for both, because it’s what our teachers need, and what our kids deserve.
“In the meantime, we encourage the state Legislature to consider quickly the wind production and capital gains tax bills as potential revenue streams: Oklahoma needs an increase in public education funding on top of teacher raises. And we need it soon, so we can get back to the classroom.
“Make no mistake: Our teachers want to be in school—teaching. But they’ll remain in the capital until these legislators make good on their duty to fund our state’s schools.”