State Question 744 Supporters, Opponents Face Off In Tulsa Forum

Tuesday, October 12th 2010, 9:55 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, News On 6

UNDATED -- A controversial state question has both sides predicting doom and gloom in Campaign 2010.

Supporters of State Question 744 say without it, Oklahoma school budgets will be gutted next year. Opponents say with it, other state agencies are heading for bankruptcy.

9/30/2010 Related Story: Will State Question 744 Help Or Hurt Oklahoma?

Both sides made their pitch at Memorial High School in Tulsa Tuesday night.

Supporters of state question 744, which would require the state to increase the amount of money it spends per student to the regional average, say a constitutional amendment is the only way to turn a promise into reality.

10/11/2010 Related Story: Oklahoma Treasurer Opposes State Question 744

"They have never fulfilled their promises to us about education, never been sincere about it. All you have to do is look at our spending," said Todd Gilpin, a supporter of State Question 744.

State board of education member Todd Gilpin says politicians are protecting their own interests, not your children's. And that's why many of them have come out against State Question 744.

"Don't do it. Criminals will run loose in the street, agencies close over night. That's the politics of fear," Gilpin said.

Danny Patton, a product of public schools, argues it's not fear-mongering, but a shrewd take on the state's finances.

"We're looking at a 38 percent increase in taxes. For an average family of four, $1,200," Patton, an opponent of State Question 744 said. "I know lots of families of four where $1,200 dollars a year would kill them."

The Yes camp argues the state has the money; it just needs to stop wasting it on special interest tax breaks. The No camp points out State Question 744 only mandates the amount of money, not the source of the cash.

"It's not scare tactics to say that negative things are going to happen, because it doesn't say in the bill where this money is going to come from, we can only assume," Patton said.

Supporters of 744 insist it doesn't have to mean a tax increase or massive agency cuts. Opponents say there's nothing that guarantees that won't happen.

To read more about the state questions on the November ballot, check out