OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – An Oklahoma representative says that she has filed legislation this week that would increase the financial scrutiny given to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
House Bill 2530 would require the state auditor and inspector to perform an audit of the Turnpike Authority at least once every two years.
“Taxpayers deserve to know where their hard-earned money is going,” Rep. Tess Teague said. “The Turnpike Authority has an annual budget of nearly $100 million, and lawmakers owe it to Oklahomans to track those dollars closely.”
The legislation dictates that the audit will take no more than 90 days. Results will be shared with the governor, speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the president pro-tempore of the State Senate and made publicly available.
“For too long agencies who derive significant revenues outside of the normal appropriations process, through funding mechanisms like user fees and drivers tolls, have avoided serious legislative scrutiny and oversight,” Teague said. “Given the budget challenges of recent years and the repeated attempts by political leaders to raise people’s taxes in this state, we need to take a much more serious look at how these agencies have been operating. It’s high time they come out of the shadows.”
However, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority says the bill is unnecessary.
In fact, agency leaders say the agency is already audited every single year.
Officials with the agency say they are audited every year by an independent auditor and the results are then turned over to the governor’s office and the auditor’s office each year.