When discussions start about the state helping schools fund storm shelters, the conversation inevitably turns to the lack of funds available to pay for such a costly project. But according to a recent poll, three out of four Oklahomans would support state-mandated storm shelters in all public primary schools. Like many Oklahomans, I'm concerned about the safety of our students. I wonder what our elected officials plan to do to assist schools in protecting our children. Why can't Gov. Mary Fallin and the Legislature step up and repeal the recent state income tax cut and redirect that money to schools to build storm shelters?
Repealing the tax cut would make $237 million available annually for shelters and this amount collected annually could go far in helping schools build shelters. When you look at what the tax cut adds to the average Oklahoma family's take-home pay, it's somewhere between $20 and $81 annually. Unfortunately, this amount won't do much to help the average Oklahoman. Pooled together, though, this could make a huge difference in helping schools protect our children.
We must hold our elected officials accountable. We need to ask them if repealing the state income tax cut and redirecting the money to the schools to help build storm shelters is a possibility. If not, where could they find the money to help? Do they even plan to try to secure the money?
Dona Walton, Ardmore