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Oklahoma's House Democrats call for more funds for public schools

Democrats criticized efforts by Republicans to cut the top rate of the personal income tax, saying the lost revenue instead should be earmarked for common education.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: May 2, 2013

Joe Griffin, spokesman for House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, said budget negotiators are close to reaching an agreement for the 2014 fiscal year budget.

“Common education is a priority and this budget will reflect that,” Griffin said.

A couple hours after House Democrats spoke, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines to cut the top personal income tax rate in 2015 and possibly another tax cut the next year.

Altogether, the cuts would cost the state about $237 million a year when both are fully implemented.

“That's money we need to be putting into education,” said Rep. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City.

Floyd said businesses interested in moving to Oklahoma are more interested in an educated and skilled workforce and the quality of public schools for their employees than the personal income tax rates.