OEA President responds to budget shortfall

Oklahoma lawmakers will have $85.5 million less to spend in the state budget than last year. 

The Oklahoma Board of Equalization announced Tuesday that the final budget will be $8.2 billion — lower than expected. 

Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, had this to say: 

“In light of the disappointing news that state revenue is down by $85 million from last year, it would be irresponsible for the legislature to expand voucher tax credits.

“Lawmakers have tough decisions ahead of them. We hope they will take a hard look at curbing existing tax credit giveaways to make our budget whole, rather than further expanding these giveaways for the benefit of the wealthy and private schools. It would be fiscally irresponsible to put more stress on the budget and public schools by siphoning money to a tiny fraction of Oklahoma’s students.

“Even with the admirable investment of the past two years, Oklahoma public schools are still desperate for resources. Our students are still living the consequences of long-term underfunding. Schools are still laying off staff, and educators are still leaving the state and the profession.

“Now is not the time to short-change Oklahoma.”