Oklahoma House Education Plan Moves to Senate: Democrats, Republicans Disagree Over School Tax Credit
News 9 - February 24, 2023 6:59 am
OKLAHOMA CITY –
The House Education plan cleared a hurdle on Wednesday. The House approved $500 million for public education and the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act.
However, both parties remain divided on parent choice. Lawmakers discussed this tax credit for about two hours today.
Democrats argue the tax credit doesn’t offer low-income families equal opportunities.
Wednesday, lawmakers on the house floor heard plenty of questions regarding House Bill 1935. The bill is part of House Speaker Charles McCall’s (R) education plan.
“They don’t have $10,000 – $22,000 to go to a private school. Could you understand that?” said Rep. Regina Goodwin (D) on the house floor Wednesday afternoon.
“I am gonna push back on that as well because of the amount of funding Tulsa has received,” said Rep. Ronda Baker (R) in response to Goodwin’s question.
Baker answered questions from democrats.
“As you know this is a gift,” Goodwin said.
Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D) argued private school tuition costs more than the $5,000 families would get from this program.
“That’s not a reality for families that live in poverty,” Provenzano said.
Rep. Ryan Martinez (R) said he lived in a poor community with poor schools.
“I had a lot of problems,” Martinez said.
Martinez said his parents worked to send him to a private school, but he wants to make it easier for his community today.
“Let’s give kids a chance to succeed,” Martinez said.
Rep. Trish Ranson (D) feels this is a missed opportunity.
“We can reinvest in our state where every single citizen of this state wins,” Ranson said. “Instead, we reward the people who have already made the choice for private school.”
Nonetheless, the bill passed 75-25 after everyone’s questions and arguments ran out of time.
“We’re supporting all students and their parents’ right to choose,” Baker said.
The House also passed House Bill 2775 which would increase teacher pay by $2,500 dollars per year. Both bills now head to the Senate.