House Dems Release Statement in Support of Teachers

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, has issued the following statement on behalf of House Democrats in support of Oklahoma teachers as they organize and prepare to ‘walkout’ in the face of low wages and inadequate education funding.

“In the past year, House Republican leadership has continued to put revenue measures up for a vote on the House floor that disproportionately affect working-class Oklahomans and protect corporations and wealthy campaign donors.

“Although the majority party gets to choose the legislation that makes it to the House floor, the Republican Caucus has yet to have a high enough percentage of their members support a revenue package that would pass if the measure had equal support from Democrats. In fact, a Republican authored bill that would have raised enough revenue for a teacher pay raise was supported by 82 percent of Democrats last November, but it failed because less than 75 percent of the House Republican Caucus supported it.

“Our caucus is dedicated to finding a long term solution to the current funding crisis that cripples our state. However, investing in our teachers, our students, and our state is going to take more than the $106 million provided from capping itemized deductions, and it is going to take more than the $22 million raised on gaming modernization. The only legitimate path forward to fund the myriad critical needs in this state is one that is truly bipartisan; a plan where all parties are allowed equal input into the final details, not another plan dictated by Republican leadership and presented as a ‘take it or leave it’ deal.

“We fully support the right of teachers to organize. For longer than any of our current members have been in the House, Democratic Caucus members have stood side-by-side with teachers and have fought to protect funding for our most valuable resource – public education.”