Petition To Bring Tax Increases To Public Vote Needs More Signatures

Wednesday, May 16th 2018, 6:08 pm
By: Emory Bryan

In November, there could be a vote to eliminate tax increases tied to teacher pay raises.

Before that vote can happen, the group trying to get it on the ballot has to gather 41,000 signatures.

Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite, the group behind the petition, has until mid-July to get the necessary signatures.

The petition can be found at the Tulsa Office of the Republican Party and at some convenience stores and tobacco shops.

One of those shops is Ted’s Pipe Shop.  Most of the customers are regulars, but the petition is bringing in some new faces.

“I didn’t know how big this would be,” said Karen Clymer, from Ted’s Pipe Shop.  “I didn’t realize there would be that many people off the street.”

The petition already has a couple dozen signatures.

Clymer says most are from people just coming in to look for the petition.

“Since they’re not purchasing, I would say they couldn’t care less about cigarettes, they’re worried about this tax or they wouldn’t be coming in here to sign this,” she said.

Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite is training volunteers to go out and gather signatures, and hoping people will sign it when they see it.

Veto referendum supporter Ronda Vuillemont-Smith says, “find a place to sign up, sign the petition, and let the power return to the people and let the people decide if they want this tax increase or not.”

Shawna Mott-Wright, from Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, disagrees.

She says, “it’s not just anti-tax, it’s anti-teacher.”

The union believes the petition could derail pay increases and it hopes to keep the issue from ever making it to the ballot.

“Yes, we are absolutely encouraging people to decline to sign that,” said Mott-Wright.

The teachers are mobilizing their own campaign to keep people from signing and, if it makes it to the ballot, to try and stop it there.