Line Item Budget Process Proposed

Seven Oklahoma Senators are working together on legislation to require the Legislature to approve line-item budgets for agencies appropriated more than $100 million in state funds. Senate Bill 875 will be the vehicle which is meant to give legislators and taxpayers a clearer picture of how agencies are using state resources.

Senator Roger Thompson is the principal author of the measure.

“The biggest responsibility the Legislature has is writing and passing the budget. One way or another, it impacts every single person in our state,” Thompson said, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance.  “By digging deeper and really examining all the programs, services and other expenses these major agencies are funding, the public is going to be more fully informed about how those dollars are being used, and lawmakers will have the ability to be better stewards of those dollars.”

The agencies which would fall under the scope of SB 875 are the Department of Education, CareerTech, the Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Corrections. The Legislature is restricted by the Oklahoma Constitution from specifying how Higher Education dollars are spent.

Thompson is joined by Senator AJ Griffin, Senator Stephanie Bice, Senate Jason Smalley, Senator Marty Quinn, Senator Lonnie Paxton and Senator Julie Daniels in the effort to craft the measure as it makes its way through the legislative process during the next session.

The group of Senators held a press conference on Tuesday explaining the effort. You can listen to the press conference below.

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