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Proposal to use bonds to pay for storm shelters advances
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Proposal to use bonds to pay for storm shelters advances

Proposal to use bonds to pay for storm shelters advances
Photo Credit: Rick Couri
Plaza Tower elementary

Proposal to use bonds to pay for storm shelters advances

UPDATE: Republicans say the numbers released by the Democrats are grossly inflated.

Proponents of the bill say the idea would only increase property taxes by $3 to $8 per year, and that's only if the school decided to go ahead with a bond issue.

The measure give schools the option and many districts would replace a current bond, so tax payers wouldn't see a difference.

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A bill that would ultimately lead to a property tax increase to pay for storm shelters in schools passed the House Appropriations and Budget Committee Thursday.

The bill, authored by Reps. Mark McBride and Jon Echols, follows a proposal by Gov. Mary Fallin in her State of the State address.

Rep. Richard Morrissette, a democrat, says, “Raising property taxes on home owners, small businesses, and farmers and ranchers to pay for storm shelters is the wrong move for Oklahoma when a better path already exists. Shifting and increasing the tax burden to property owners is bad fiscal policy.”

The idea is to allow local school districts the option to vote on bonds to fund the construction of storm shelters.

Morrissette says the bill would increase property taxes statewide an average of 30 percent.

“Property tax on a home valued at $100,000 would increase $305 per year for 10 years.”

House Democrats say storm shelter funding could come from the existing franchise tax. 

The issue of storm shelters in school has been in the spotlight ever since seven children died inside Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore last May.

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