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Economists Meet to Discuss State Question on Education Funding

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Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Economists and fiscal policy experts met at the state Capitol Tuesday to discuss State Question 744, which would require the state to fund common education at the average of Oklahoma's neighboring states.

Many state leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, are against the measure because the state will have to come up with another $850 million and most likely budgets for every other agency would be cut by about 20 percent.

Economists from the state's top two public universities and fiscal analysts from a pair of Oklahoma think-tanks held a press conference to announce their opposition to the State Question 744, which is one of 11 questions on the November ballot. If approved, it would amend the state constitution to require Oklahoma within three years to meet the regional average of per-student spending in surrounding states.

University of Oklahoma's Department of Economics Chairman Alexander Holmes called the proposal "foolish."

"Not only is it bad constitutional drafting but it's double bad because we're asking other states to determine how much we spend on things," Holmes said.

Oklahoma State University Regents Professor of Economics Larkin Warner says the plan could ultimately hurt education by devastating other state services.

Supporters said it's time lawmakers make Oklahoma education a top priority.

The Oklahoma Education Association could not be reached for comment on Tuesday's press conference.

More: State Question 744 Could Dramatically Impact Education in Oklahoma

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