House Democrats Announce Oklahoma Focused Budget
Mike Seals - May 11, 2021 11:21 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma House Democrats today revealed their state budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2022.
The Oklahoma Focused Budget seeks to lower taxes for most Oklahomans, while also increasing the state’s investment in opportunities.
“The Oklahoma Focused Budget puts more money in the pocket of nurses, construction workers, oilfield workers, small business owners, and the hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans who get up early every day to make sure our state economy stays strong,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman. “Through smart investments and an equitable revenue stream, the Oklahoma Focused Budget grows our state through increased opportunity for our citizens.”
While the Democratic budget has a breadth of new ideas and different approaches to state problems, the Oklahoma Focused Budget prioritizes increased education funding, an end to fines and fees in the criminal justice system, restoring and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and ending Oklahoma’s regressive state grocery tax.
Ending fines and fees in Oklahoma’s court system would effectively end Oklahoma’s debtor’s prison.
“No longer funding our district attorneys with fines and fees creates an economic culture where Oklahomans can not just survive Oklahoma, but thrive in Oklahoma,” said Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC. “It also does so much more for the family unit and our citizen’s quality of life.”
For the third year in a row, Oklahoma House Democrats have called for an additional $200 million in classroom funding. This year, that allocation request is paired with increases to higher education, career-tech, and an investment into a K-12 counselor corps.
“Our neighboring states are still outpacing us in investment in education, and we continue to be at the bottom while our population of students in the Oklahoma public school system continues to grow,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa. “Our parents are choosing public schools. It’s time we chose our kids.”
Ending Oklahoma’s grocery tax would save Oklahomans $257 million on annual grocery costs.
“We are one of 13 states that charge a tax on a carton of milk,” said Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-OKC. “If we are looking for a way to lower the tax burden for our frontline, essential workers, ending the state sales tax on groceries is a great start.”
To learn more about the Oklahoma Focused Budget, please visit www.oklahomafocused.com.