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Teachers and lawmakers at odds over how to fund education during second week of walkout

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Posted at 4:35 PM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 08:48:30-04

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Lawmakers are searching for a solution that appeals to a wide range of Oklahomans.

This follows a statement by the Oklahoma Education Association last week, saying the walkout will not end unless the house repeals the exemption for capitol gains.

Multiple lawmakers spoke about this to 2 Works for You, saying they aren't feeling optimistic.
 
The house chairman for the education budget said in this state, a repeal of the capitol gains exemption will largely hit rural land owners.

"It is devastating to rural Oklahoma. They said they would repeal the agriculture portions of it. But if you're in a state like Oklahoma that's about all that's left," Representative Todd Russ said.

Democrats have also suggested restoring the income tax back to 5.25%.

"We can always make up days if we have to. We may not have another opportunity to take care of this situation," Representative Karen Gaddis said.
 

But many Republicans said they're committed to finding waste in spending, rather than raising taxes.

"What's the number? The thought that we could get higher means you're asking me to continue to raise taxes on the people in Oklahoma. I'm getting clobbered for the taxes that we've raised," Russ said.

 
Russ said he's proud of the funding Oklahoma has provided for education. Teachers said it still isn't enough.

"We're just strongly standing by the ask. That is more money for our classrooms. As far as how that gets done obviously that's up to lawmakers and we're going to continue to have conversations with them about we feel the best path forward is," Bixby North Intermediate teacher Jessica Jernegan said.

A variety of bills affecting the wind industry are expected to be introduced this week. This ranges from tax exemptions and capping to GPT.

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