The “T-word” gets approval at the Oklahoma legislature

A measure sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt this week might help those in the energy industry learn more easily how affecting state agencies are spending money.

For instance, how much money is spent by state regulators regarding rules and regulations of the oil and gas industry.

The Senate approved Senate Bill 1 which creates the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency or LOFT. The office will provide independent data to lawmakers and the public on state agency budgets and program performance.

The highlights of Senate Bill 1:

  • LOFT will conduct performance evaluations of agencies, programs, or specific divisions;
  • LOFT would have open access to all agency data and budgets;
  • LOFT would be overseen by a bipartisan committee of Senate and House members;
  • LOFT would have a nonpartisan, independent staff of highly educated professionals;
  • LOFT reports would be available to the public.

“More transparency in agency spending and program performance will increase and enhance accountability of how tax dollars are used. LOFT will increase transparency by providing lawmakers and the public with independent data on agency budgets and program performance,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma and author of SB 1.

“For too long, lawmakers have been dependent on agencies or those who benefit from state spending for spending and program performance data. That’s not the best system of accountability. The people of Oklahoma deserve and expect that their tax dollars will be used in the best and most efficient manner. LOFT will be a watchdog for the public and policy makers by providing better information to track and evaluate how tax dollars are spent.”

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes $1.7 million in funding for LOFT. SB 1 goes to the House for consideration, and if approved, would go to the governor’s desk.

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