Okla. Senate passes bill to increase fiscal transparency in state agencies

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The Oklahoma State Senate, pictured on March 28, 2018. (KFOR/Bill Miston)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill designed to enhance fiscal transparency and accountability among Oklahoma state agencies.

Senate Bill 177 – written by Senator Ron Sharp (R-Shawnee) with input from the State Auditor, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) and the State Comptroller – requires state agencies to provide a balance sheet and statement of revenues, expenditures and fund balance changes as prescribed by the State Auditor and OMES, according to a State Senate news release.

The bill was one of seven multi-grand jury recommendations made in May 2018 after the State Department of Health’s financial issues were discovered.

“Not only was this a grand jury recommendation to prevent future misuse of funds and financial deception by state agencies, but Oklahomans have demanded more agency accountability and transparency of their tax funds. These are their hard-earned dollars, and they deserve to know how every penny is spent,” Sharp said.

Financial information is set to be published online by Jan. 1, 2021.

“We must ensure that the deceit and financial mismanagement that occurred at the state Health Department a couple of years ago never happens in our state government again. By publishing the information online, the public can help the legislature hold our state agencies more accountable,” Sharp said. “Full transparency and accountability ensure that tax dollars are used efficiently to support the state services Oklahomans need.”

The bill now moves to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for further consideration. Rep. Daniel Pae (R-Lawton) is the principal House author of SB 177.

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