GOP senator proposes tobacco fund raid for teacher pay hikes
Ponca City Now - August 19, 2015 8:32 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A Republican state senator from Woodward is proposing a constitutional amendment to allow the state to raid money from Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust fund to pay for a teacher pay raise.
Sen. Bryce Marlatt announced Tuesday his plan to introduce a resolution to submit the proposal to a vote of the people.
Marlatt says since smoking rates have reached an all-time low in Oklahoma, the funds could be used without compromising the mission of the TSET.
The trust is a constitutionally protected fund established by a vote of the people in 2000 to use interest from tobacco industry settlement funds to pay for health care and anti-tobacco initiatives.
Trust officials said in a statement health and teacher pay are both important issues that shouldn’t be pitted against each other.