Drew Edmondson considering GPT state question if lawmakers won’t approve his plan

Drew Edmondson, Democratic candidate for governor, said Thursday he would consider calling for a state question to raise the gross production tax if lawmakers refuse to implement his education funding plan.

Despite the tax rate on oil and gas production being a hot-button issue at the Oklahoma Capitol, lawmakers this year raised the discounted rate on new wells from 2 percent to 5 percent while in the throes of a debate on teacher pay.

Edmondson has called for raising the rate to 7 percent, which is what producers now pay three years after production begins.

The former state attorney general said he would use revenue from that source to boost overall education spending, along with increasing the cigarette tax and eliminating the capital gains tax deduction. He said his plan would raise $300 million.

Those ideas aren’t new in the race for governor, which pits Edmondson against Republican Kevin Stitt and Libertarian Chris Powell. On Thursday, however, Edmondson released details of an education plan that focuses on reducing class sizes, raising cash for textbooks, properly staffing guidance counselors and other issues that he learned from talking with teachers on the campaign trail.

Edmondson was joined by David Boren, former University of Oklahoma president and state governor, who endorsed Edmondson for the state’s top position and hailed his “good judgment and political courage.”