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Senate’s budget transparency initiative ramps up with unprecedented, marathon hearing

Senate’s budget transparency initiative ramps up with unprecedented, marathon hearing

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Committee held an all-day meeting on Wednesday to publicly vet proposed budgets for 55 state agencies. The unprecedented hearing is a result of the Senate’s new budget transparency process.

Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, who leads the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday’s meeting was an example of how the chamber’s new budget process is providing senators, the media and the public a detailed look at building a state budget.

“We’re seeing the process work,” Thompson said. “Every appropriations committee member is asking in-depth questions about spending and personnel at state agencies to make sure we’re doing what’s best for the state of Oklahoma. We’re shining a light on every budget number.”

Members of Senate appropriations subcommittees made recommendations to the full appropriations committee on how much funding should be allocated to each agency in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Later this month, the full Senate will pass a nonbinding resolution to put forth a proposed state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. That will serve as a starting point for budget negotiations with the House.

“These are raw numbers that are subject to change during budget negotiations,” Thompson said. “Although the Senate is updating its budget process, we respect our House counterparts and look forward to working with them to reach a spending plan that addresses the needs of Oklahomans across the state.”

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, has said creating a more transparent state budget process is one of his main priorities for this year, his final year in the Oklahoma Legislature.

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