Penny Sales Tax Petition Challenged

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A conservative group Thursday filed a legal challenge against a proposed penny sales tax proposal to fund education, claiming the tax violates a provision limiting laws to one topic.

Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs Impact, a right-leaning policy advocacy group, filed the challenge at the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, challenging the would-be measure’s constitutionality. The group alleged the sales tax proposal violates the state constitution by including four topics, said OCPA Impact CEO Dave Bond.

The topics include:

  • Teacher pay raises
  • Unrelated funding that does not involve teacher pay raises
  • A sales tax proposal
  • And restructures the state appropriations process

Bond called tax proponents’ tactics “logrolling.”

“The traditional concept of logrolling is that you roll up something people like with something they don’t like,” Bond said at a press conference following the filing. “They vote for the thing they like, such as a pay raise for teachers, but end up getting something they weren’t as favorable toward, such as having to pay the highest sales tax burden in the nation.”

OCPA Impact also called for cutting state agencies or services, and for selling state assets to pay for teachers raises. Such cuts would include subsidies for space travel, state-owned golf courses, rodeos, county fairs and museums.

Supporters of the penny sales tax criticized OCPA Impact’s legal challenge.

Amber England, executive director of Stand for Children Oklahoma, which helped push the sales tax proposal, said the challenge is nothing more than a delay tactic.

“OCPA has never been a friend of public education,” England said. “They have a history of denying there is even a teacher shortage.”

OCPA Impact: Penny Sales Tax Challenge (Text)