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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105


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For Immediate Release: February 18, 2009

Sen. John Sparks
Senator John Sparks

Senator Sparks Authors Bill to Cut Taxes For Students
College and Career Tech Students Would Benefit

Senator John Sparks (D-Norman) has filed a measure intended to eliminate the state income taxes paid by full time Higher Education and Career Technology students.

“We need to do all we can for students who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Sparks. “Approval of this legislation would send a clear message that the Legislature wants Oklahomans to become better educated and we’re here to help.”

Senate Bill 1091 would exempt any Oklahoma resident, regardless of age, from paying state income tax while enrolled as a full time student at any College, University or Career Tech Center. The bill provides this exemption if the student earns less than the $50,000 income limit set by the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program.

The single most important factor driving economic development in any state is the education level of the workforce.” Sparks continued, “To move Oklahoma forward, we’ll need the best educated workforce possible – and this helps us achieve that.”

Sparks, whose district contains the University of Oklahoma, has been a champion of Higher Education during his two years in the Oklahoma Senate. During his first year in office, he received the legislative newcomer of the year award from Oklahoma’s colleges and universities.

Sparks noted the measure will help more than just traditional college students in their late teens and early twenties. “Those who are going back to school to learn new skills for the new economy are just as much why I wrote this law.”

One example is Norman resident Liz Houck. A thirty-four single mother of two, she is currently enrolled in a Career Tech program to become a LPN and RN. “Each month I just barely make it,” said Houck, a nursing assistant in Cleveland County. “Between work and school there is hardly any time in my day, but I know I can provide a greater future for my son and daughter by getting a better education.”

Oklahoma’s Career Tech system currently reports nearly 12,000 adults as full time students enrolled in course work at campuses across the state.

“I’m aware that we are in a struggling economy, but I don’t believe we should balance the state budget on the backs of students” said Sparks. “The best tax cuts in tough times have always been targeted tax cuts such as this.”

Senate Bill 1091 must be voted out of a Senate Committee by this Thursday, February 19 to be considered by the full Senate. To encourage passage of this legislation, contact Senate Pro-Tem Glenn Coffee at (405) 521-5799 or coffee@oksenate.gov.

For more information contact:
Sen. Spark's Office: 405-521-5553

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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