Thursday, February 15, 2018

Senate bringing top agencies back for further budget hearings

Senate bringing top agencies back for further budget hearings

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday will hold the first of a series of hearings to further review the budgets of the top appropriated state agencies.

“Whether the state is in an economic boom or a bust, one of our most important jobs is providing oversight of how agencies spend our tax dollars to ensure taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus. “These hearings will provide senators with more information about agency budgets and spending, which, in turn, will help us make more informed decisions when it comes to writing the budget.”

Schulz said typically, agency budget hearings are held by appropriations subcommittees during the interim. Bringing agencies back to the Capitol during the legislative session for a hearing in front of the full Senate Appropriations Committee will give all senators and the public an opportunity to learn more about agency budgeting and spending practices, he said.

Senator Kim David, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the total appropriations of the agencies that will appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee represent 92 percent of the annual appropriated state budget.

“These agencies consume the lion’s share of the appropriated state budget so it makes sense that we give more time to review these budgets,” said David, R-Porter. “These budget hearings will assist us in providing oversight of how agencies spend your tax dollars. Additionally, holding hearings during the session will bring more people into the process, providing lawmakers and the public with even more information about the state budget.”

The hearings will be held in Room 535 of the Oklahoma Capitol. The hearing schedule (subject to change, if necessary) is as follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 20
3:30 pm:  Oklahoma Ethics Commission
4:30 pm:  Oklahoma State Department of Education

Tuesday, Feb. 27
3:30 pm:  Oklahoma Health Care Authority
4:30 pm:  Oklahoma Health Department

Tuesday, March 6
3:30 pm:  State Regents for Higher Education
4:30 pm:  Department of Public Safety and/or Office of Juvenile Affairs

Tuesday, March 13
3:30 pm:  Department of Human Services
4:30 pm:  Department of Career and Technology Education

Tuesday, March 20
3:30 pm:  Department of Corrections
4:30 pm:  Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Tuesday, March 27
3:30 pm:  Department of Transportation
4:30 pm:  Office of Management and Enterprise Services


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