Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Bonus content

December 17, 2013

Plan for school shelters thwarted by Okla. tax cut

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — After a huge tornado ripped through the Oklahoma City suburbs this spring and demolished two elementary schools, killing seven children, a longtime legislator thought the time was ripe for the state to act on a well-known problem.

Although Oklahoma averages more than 50 tornadoes a year, and sometimes gets more than 100, about 60 percent of public schools have no shelters. Cash-strapped districts can't afford to build them.

Rep. Joe Dorman, who represents the small farming town of Rush Springs, proposed a bond issue, taking advantage of the state's rebounding economy and revenue from a business tax that was already on the books.

But the response to his proposal has made clear that there's something more ominous than tornadoes these days in one of the nation's most conservative states: taxes and borrowing.

The idea has been snubbed by Oklahoma's political leadership, including Gov. Mary Fallin, triggering a debate over the current push by some GOP-controlled states to cut taxes to improve their business climate instead of using available revenue for longstanding problems.

"It would be nice if every kid in Oklahoma had a safe room to go to," said Bill Pingleton, the superintendent in the rural town of Tushka, where the school and much of the town were destroyed by a tornado in 2011.

But top officials said the schools shouldn't expect state help for shelters.

"Just adding on a new tax burden on Oklahomans is not the answer," said Republican State Superintendent Janet Barresi, Oklahoma's highest ranking education official.

Republican leaders want to eliminate the franchise tax, a $1.25 levy on every $1,000 a corporation invests in Oklahoma, to help fund the shelter plan. The tax, which has existed since 1963, generates about $40 million annually, but was recently suspended. Since 2010, the Republican-controlled Legislature has cut the personal income tax and several taxes on businesses as part of an aggressive fiscal agenda.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bonus content
  • Economy Not Feeling the Recovery [Duplicate] As US job market strengthens, many don't feel it WASHINGTON (AP) — For millions of workers, happy days aren't quite here again. Though the U.S. unemployment rate has plunged since the start of last year to a five-year low of 6.1 percent, the Gallup Organization has found that consumers' view of the

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • CIA Investigations [Duplicate] State Dept: 'No American is proud' of CIA tactics

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror susp

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV-Big Bang Theory [Duplicate] Contract dispute delays 'Big Bang' production NEW YORK (AP) — Production on a new season of "The Big Bang Theory" is being delayed because of a contract dispute with its top actors. The Warner Brothers Television studio, which makes television's most popular comedy, said that Wednesday's schedul

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • UCLA Flooding-12 [Duplicate] Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons LOS ANGELES (AP) — The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a mucky mess points to the risks and expense many cities face w

    July 31, 2014 8 Photos

  • House Obama Lawsuit-3 [Duplicate] Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other Democrats derided

    July 31, 2014 6 Photos

  • 062612 COAL EXCAVATOR For Indiana coal mining town, EPA climate change plan threatens stability DUGGER, Ind. – Peggy and Martha Marlow collect artifacts of this small town’s history for a storefront mining museum that Martha helped open more than 30 years ago. Tin dinner buckets, carbide headlamps and battered hard hats line the museum’s crowde

    July 30, 2014 11 Photos

  • Film Review Get On Up [Duplicate] Review: Boseman drips with charisma as James Brown There's a delicious moment in "Get On Up," Tate Taylor's new James Brown biopic, when Brown — played by Chadwick Boseman, in a thrillingly magnetic performance — is about to appear on the T.A.M.I. Show, a multi-act concert filmed in 1964. Backstage,

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Settlement erases debt for 261 Indiana military members INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Attorney General Greg Zoeller says a new settlement will erase $1.5 million of bad debt for 261 military members from Indiana. Zoeller and attorneys general from 12 other states filed suit against the lender Rome Finance. They acc

    July 30, 2014

  • Smart phone app helps navigate Indiana State Fair

    The Indiana State Fair is offering a free updated mobile app for smartphones aimed at helping visitors navigate their way around the fairgrounds on Indianapolis' north side.

    July 30, 2014

  • Highway Money [Duplicate] Senate passes highway bill, sends it back to House WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday voted to change the funding and timing of a House bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states in an effort to force Congress to come to grips with chronic funding problems that have plagued transportat

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller