Kevin believes that education is the foundation to ensure that the future of Oklahoma is headed in the right direction. We must support our teachers, and our students. It’s necessary that Oklahoma be competitive in salary, and resources to attract and maintain good teachers.
There are 101 members of the House of Representatives, and of those, 98 members voted to give our teachers a much-needed pay raise. Every one of those 98 members can state they voted for the teacher pay increase but not everyone voted for the funding behind the pay raise.
Kevin voted for measures that he believed would be the best way to fund the salary increase for teachers, such as rolling back tax credits that did not work, an increase in the Gross Production Tax for oil, and another Gross Production Tax for wind. Kevin’s goal was to raise revenue without burdening every Oklahoman with additional taxes. With the funding passed it affects every day Oklahomans with an increase of approximately $2.34 per week.
One way to generate more income for government provided services is by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse of funds. Kevin and other legislators voted to reform the way the government manages departments by require audits of state agencies, resulting in the audit bill HB2311. These audits when completed however will not bring in $400,000,000 it takes to fund the teacher pay raise. Audits could potentially find additional money but it will take 3 to 5 years to see that return. Our teachers simply could not wait that long for their pay raise. Kevin doesn’t believe in raising taxes, however, this situation required an immediate action and so it was done. Looking forward to a long term plan, as audits are done, and agencies streamlined, legislators like Kevin are hoping to roll back taxes or fees in the future and not disrupt core service to government agencies. Kevin did vote for the teacher pay raise bill and he also voted for the following revenue increases in order to make sure the pay raise is fully funded- which it is.
Kevin realizes that additional funding for schools, books, supplies, and the like are still necessary and the teacher pay increase for 2018 was just the beginning of addressing long-term funding for teachers, schools, student services and setting a plan in place the will prevent this lack of funding in the future.
The final teacher pay raise funding bill was HB1010 of the 2nd extraordinary special session in 2018. This is the bill that received the required 76 votes (In fact it received 79) in the house and the required votes in the Senate and the Governor signed into law.
The first funding bill for education that was run through the house of representatives was HB1054 also known as A+. This vote was made in the special session of 2017. This revenue bill did not meet the 76 vote requirement and failed. HB1054 Known as A+
The next funding bill that ran in the 2018 regular session was HB1033 also known as the Step Up Plan. HB1033 known as Step Up Plan