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Tulsa Chamber Urges More Funding For Education

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The state has more money to spend this year and if it comes down to using that for tax cuts - or education spending - business leaders know what they would do - but politicians are not so sure. The state has more money to spend this year and if it comes down to using that for tax cuts - or education spending - business leaders know what they would do - but politicians are not so sure.
The Chamber hosted a "State of Education" meeting Friday to talk about the benefits of better public education - which for them is a business recruitment tool. The Chamber hosted a "State of Education" meeting Friday to talk about the benefits of better public education - which for them is a business recruitment tool.
In Tulsa Friday, Governor Fallin wouldn't say whether education could - or should - get any more money. In Tulsa Friday, Governor Fallin wouldn't say whether education could - or should - get any more money.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The legislature wraps up in two weeks but first they have to finish a budget. And that's coming down to a debate over tax cuts, and how much to put into things like education.

The state has more money to spend this year and if it comes down to using that for tax cuts - or education spending - business leaders know what they would do - but politicians are not so sure.

"We really need to be increasing funding for education, before we cut taxes," said Mike Neal with the Tulsa Chamber.

Read Tulsa Chamber Statement

The Tulsa chamber's chief business recruiter says well educated workers, not low taxes, is what businesses say they want.

"In my 6 years in Tulsa, not once has anyone criticized our tax rate or said they're not coming here because of a high rate," Neal said.

The Chamber hosted a "State of Education" meeting Friday to talk about the benefits of better public education - which for them is a business recruitment tool.

"It's a priority of the Tulsa Chamber; it's a priority of all the chambers and economic development efforts in Northeast Oklahoma," Neal said.

Just about every official at the state capitol says education is one of their top priorities too. Some Tulsa parents who went there to lobby this week heard that a lot.

But they also learned that tax cuts might end up being a higher priority this year.

"We want to do what we can to provide for our core services, and certainly education is one of those top things," Governor Fallin said.

In Tulsa Friday, Governor Fallin wouldn't say whether education could - or should - get any more money.

Emory Bryan: "Is education going to get that $50 million to restore the previous cuts?"
Governor Fallin: "We're very concerned about education, all essential services."

Fallin would only say schools will get "appropriate" funding.

"But I would like to see a tax cut this year, so Oklahoma can be more competitive as a state," Fallin said.

That priority directly contradicts what the Chamber figures makes a place competitive.

"I can't think of many instances where a business has mentioned income tax rates," Neal said.

The parents in the "49th is Not Ok!" group, are trying to push lawmakers to change the priorities on spending.

05/09/2012 Related Story: 'Mad Moms' Rally For More Education Funding In Oklahoma

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