TULSA - The Oklahoma Senate is considering a bill which would allow voters to amend the constitution, part of a plan to build storm shelters in Oklahoma schools.
But the bill is meeting with increasing opposition, because it would increase property taxes and would not mandate any shelters actually be built.
Take Shelter Oklahoma, an organization founded after the Moore tornadoes that held a petition drive to build those shelters, actually opposes the bill.
So does the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
They say the amendment would increase property taxes by $880 million, but would not guarantee any shelters get built.
The Farm Bureau issued an action alert to its membership.
It said, in part, "HJR 1092 is bad legislation because it is not necessary. It only applies to the few schools which are at 100% of their bonded indebtedness. Schools that are not at 100% indebtedness can already build shelters if their voters approve. HJR 1092 would raise property taxes primarily on those suburban schools which are already at 100% of their bonded capacity. HJR 1092 provides no upper limit on what a school district may propose.”
Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan says there's no reason to raise taxes, nor to take the decision-making process on storm shelters away from local districts.
"We believe in local control, and give those local communities and those local patrons of those schools opportunity to pass the bond issues that they think are needed for their individual school districts," he said.
HJR 1092, he says, "taxes the few to benefit the majority. We really think a property tax is the wrong way to continue funding things, and we believe we should keep that cap in place that we have currently."
Gov. Mary Fallin has expressed support for HJR1092.