Group of OK teachers split with OEA, push for income tax reform


From left to right, Norman teachers Darcy Pippins, Kathy Wilson, Dawn Brockman and Stephania Abell meet to discuss their walkout strategy for the week on Sunday. The teachers, led by Brockman, decided to push for income tax reform bill HB3113.

Jordan D'Silva

Some teachers have split with the Oklahoma Education Association, pushing for income tax reform instead of removing the tax exemption on capital gains.

This comes after House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols expressed doubt in the capital gains tax, saying the tax was traded for votes to raise the gross production tax in March.

Echols remarks came on April 9 just a day after OEA president Alicia Priest stated the walkout would end if the capital gains exemption was removed and Mary Fallin vetoed the hotel/motel tax repeal.

On Monday, the OEA continued to push for the capital gains tax exemption removal, but some teachers decided to take another path.

Dawn Brockman, the leadership teacher at Norman High, is one of those teachers leading what she calls “a grassroots movement.”

Brockman, a former attorney and the current executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Student Councils, decided to organize a strategy session with a few of her fellow teachers on Sunday night.

The focus was on promoting HB 3113, an income tax reform bill proposed by Rep. Eric Proctor that would add a tax bracket for high income earners making over $100,000 a year.

“A teacher is in the same income tax bracket as Russell Westbrook,” Brockman. “A teacher making $30,000 is paying the same rate as Harold Hamm. That shouldn’t happen.”

Brockman and the group spent the night discussing the bill, creating an action plan and delegating roles.

“We will take on the senate, six senators for every group,” Brockman said. “The rest of the group can go after the house representatives.”

They ended the night by printing off legislative cheat sheets explaining HB3113 and providing citations for each of their talking points.

On Monday, the group executed their strategy, talking to senators and representatives and passing out their legislative cheat sheets to push for HB3113.

Neither the OEA, pushing for removal of the capital gains tax, nor the teachers seeking income tax reform gained much ground Monday.

“We’ve got a plan,” Brockman said. “And we are going to continue to push it.”