Education

Oklahoma voters punish GOP incumbents who denied pay raises for teachers

Nine GOP Oklahoma state representatives who voted against tax hikes designed to fund teacher pay raises either lost primaries on Tuesday or were forced into runoff elections against their Republican challengers, Talking Points Memo reports.

Ohio Reps Chuck Strohm and Scott McEachin were defeated outright Tuesday night, while another seven GOP lawmakers were forced into run-off elections that will take place next month.

All the GOP lawmakers in question voted against the tax increases.

Among the four other Republican incumbents who were defeated Tuesday, one lost to a seventh-grade English teacher.

From TPM:

In another contest, a Republican state representative who posted a Facebook video in April chastising teachers for walking out led by just three votes over a GOP challenger who suspended his campaign a month ago so he could take a new job as a sheriff’s deputy.

The Oklahoma teacher walkout followed a similar action in West Virginia, but the foundation was laid in 2011 when Republicans took control of state government and immediately began cutting taxes and approving incentives for businesses. As revenue fell, budget shortfalls reached $1.3 billion two years ago and set off repeated rounds of cutbacks in state programs, including schools.

As Vox points out, the primary ballots this Tuesday had nearly 100 public school teachers and administrators.

This past March, Oklahoma state lawmakers approved the state’s largest tax hike in over tow decades, giving teachers a pay raise and avoiding a teacher walkout.

The new taxes are expected to bring in over $445 million in new revenue for the state.

Featured image via screen grab/YouTube

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