OK Group Won't Seek 2nd Veto Referendum Challenging Teacher Pay Taxes


Monday, July 2nd 2018, 1:49 pm
By: News On 6


An anti-tax group said it will not seek a second veto referendum on the new taxes passed as lawmakers were trying to fund teacher pay raises.

Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite! filed a petition in early May, wanting to give voters the opportunity to repeal the tax increases contained in HB 1010XX. The Oklahoma Supreme Court decided their initiative petition was invalid, because the wording did not accurately describe the taxes that would be repealed.

6/22/2018 Related Story: Oklahoma Supreme Court Voids Challenge To Teacher Pay Tax

The group said Monday it will focus on upcoming elections instead of attempting a second veto referendum on new taxes, which took effect Sunday.

7/1/2018 Related Story: Gas And Cigarette Tax Increases Go Into Effect In Oklahoma

The group claims the “taxes were raised without any fiscally responsible requests for audits and ultimate reforms.” The group also cited mismanagement of state funds.

The court said the group had until July 18 to circulate a new petition, but OTU! said the deadline didn’t give them enough time.

"We’ll continue to be a voice for the taxpayers. We believe very strongly in SQ 640 and that taxpayers should have the right to vote on new taxes. It was never about the teacher pay raises – it was about the tax increase," said Ronda Vuillemont-Smith of OTU!

The group claims the “taxes were raised without any fiscally responsible requests for audits and ultimate reforms.” The group also cited ongoing mismanagement of state funds.

The court said the group had until July 18 to circulate a new petition, but OTU! said the deadline didn’t give them enough time.

"We’ll continue to be a voice for the taxpayers. We believe very strongly in State Question 640 and that taxpayers should have the right to vote on new taxes. It was never about the teacher pay raises – it was about the tax increase," said Ronda Vuillemont-Smith of OUT!

The tax increases will go into the general fund, even though they were passed in conjunction with the legislation mandating teacher pay raises. The Supreme Court decided the raises were independent of the tax increase – and that even if the taxes were repealed, the raises would still take effect.