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Lawmakers need to be in stimulus-use loop, panel is told

Lawmakers need to be in stimulus-use loop, panel is told

This article first appeared in the Tulsa World
by: BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
3/25/2009 3:18:40 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Brad Henry on Tuesday told members of a panel that was formed to oversee spending of the state's $2.6 billion in federal stimulus dollars to keep lawmakers informed.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Coordinating Council held its second meeting to discuss intricate details of applying for grants, spending the funding, and accounting for how it is spent.

Henry said Oklahoma should be on the forefront in seeking funding for early childhood development, CareerTech and energy.

State Treasurer Scott Meacham said the Legislature will need to be involved in policy decisions regarding how funds are spent.

"Make sure the Legislature is fully informed and participates in any policy decisions," he said.

Members of the panel, which include Cabinet secretaries and agency leaders, have formed working groups to determine how the funds will be spent and what grants the state can seek. Members gave an overview of their efforts.

All records produced by the council are open, Henry said. He directed panel members to send copies of reports to lawmakers.

State Auditor and Inspector Steve Burrage advised: "Know where the money came from, where you spent it, and why. Document. Document. Document."

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