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House-Passed Resolution Provides another Layer of Stimulus Oversight

House-Passed Resolution Provides another Layer of Stimulus Oversight

Jennifer Monies, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House of Representatives                   
Office of House Speaker Chris Benge                   
Office: 405-962-7679                                             
Cell: 405-550-8144                                                
OKLAHOMA CITY (March 18, 2009) – The Legislature has a rightful role of oversight over federal stimulus dollars coming into the state, House Speaker Chris Benge said today.

The House passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 today, which will provide an additional layer of oversight to ensure all stimulus dollars are spent in an efficient and transparent manner.

“The Legislature has, and will always have, a role in appropriating both state and federal dollars,” said House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa. “We are fulfilling our role to the taxpayers of Oklahoma. Ultimately, if these dollars are built into the state budget, it will be the Legislature who has to plug these holes in the future when the federal dollars are no longer available. We must watch these funds closely now and treat these dollars as one-time expenditures.”

The resolution requires every state agency that receives federal stimulus funds to submit a plan for the expenditure of such funds to the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the governor.

Further, the resolution states that an agency cannot spend the federal funds without the additional dollars being accounted for in the state agency’s budget limits put into law every legislative session.

Each year, a budget limitation bill is passed for each agency to show legislative intent in the expenditure of appropriated funds. Under the resolution, agencies will receive legislative guidance on use of the stimulus dollars much like they do every year with state dollars.

“We need as much oversight over these dollars as we can to ensure the taxpayers are adequately protected,” said House Appropriations Chairman Ken Miller, R-Edmond and author of the resolution. “When talking about taxpayer dollars, there can never be too much oversight.”

Both Benge and President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee have delegated their Appropriations Committee chairmen, Rep. Miller and Sen. Mike Johnson, to serve as oversight leaders in the Legislature.
The resolution passed the House today with a vote of 79-2 and passed the Senate yesterday.

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