April 2018

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THE GUARDIAN: How tax cuts for oil & gas companies led to the latest teacher's strike in Oklahoma

Since 2009, Oklahoma has cut more of its state education funding than any other state in the country, cutting more than $192m since 2009 according to a report released by the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

The cuts came after the state lost more than a quarter of its operating budget because of a series of cuts to the state’s oil and natural gas production tax and personal income taxes initiated in the mid-2000s. While neighboring Texas has an effective taxation rate of 8% on oil and natural gas, Oklahoma’s tax rate sits at a mere 3.2%.

If it were not for the tax cuts on natural gas and oil as well as personal income taxes, the Oklahoma Policy Institute estimates that the state would have an additional $356m to spend on K-12 (primary and high school) education as well as an additional $238m to spend on higher education.

Since Earth Day to May Day 2017 we have seen disastrous repeals of protections for the planet in this country and continued climate consequences detrimental to the entire global community, but we have also seen powerful strike actions connecting our struggles and showing us what organized grassroots democracy powered by the people can do.

Climate Democracy in Action! - a curriculum for Earth Day & beyond

Climate Democracy in Action! is a set of activities built to be used in conjunction with each other for several hours worth of climate democracy movement building with students in grades 4 – 5, meant to help inspire interest and facilitate learning around grassroots democratic action and how kids can be active leaders and participants in the fight against climate chaos. Motivated teachers can use these activities as a framework for allowing students to choose an action that could be carried out for Earth Day.

“The myth that the environment movement is the preserve of the do-gooding middle class must be exploded. It is, in fact, the workers who are most affected by the deterioration of the environment and it is therefore up to the trade union movement to give it a higher priority to fighting to improve it.” — Builders’ Labourers Federation Secretary Jack Mundey.