Vote in Oklahoma State Senate for teacher raises fails

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A plan to give Oklahoma schoolteachers a pay raise has fallen short in the Oklahoma Senate after a package of tax increases to pay for it couldn't get enough votes.

   Amid a looming teacher strike, the Senate late Wednesday voted on a series of bills, including one to give teachers a nearly 13 percent, across-the-board pay hike.

   But Democrats who say the revenue plan is inadequate and a handful of fiercely anti-tax Republicans joined to prevent the bill from getting the three-fourth's vote needed to pass a tax increase. It included tax hikes on cigarettes, motor fuel, and oil and natural gas production.

   Oklahoma public school teachers have threatened a statewide strike beginning April 2 over demands for better pay and more funding for schools.

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