The Senate approved legislation Tuesday to provide the public and legislature with a clearer picture of what federal funds Oklahoma receives. Senate Bill 271, by Sen. Nathan Dahm, will require state agencies that receive federal funds to annually publish a list on their website of the funds, what programs they are used for and the qualifications to receive and keep those funds.
“Oklahoma government utilizes more than $26.8 billion annually, and just over $7.4 billion of that are federal funds,” said Dahm, R-Broken Arrow. “Our main responsibility in the legislature is to craft a balanced budget and that requires prioritizing the needs of our state agencies. That’s extremely difficult when we don’t know how much federal funding they’re receiving. In order to be as efficient as possible with taxpayer dollars, we have to have a clear and precise revenue picture for each agency.”
SB 271 would also require that the federal funds be separated into expenditure categories and prioritized or ranked with the highest funding source listed first. The federal funds for which an agency must incur costs to implement certain programs would also be required to be listed from most to least costly.
Other provided information would include, but is not limited to, a description of:
1. any necessary action to be taken or prohibited to be taken by an agency as a condition to receive or continue to receive federal funds;
2. any action required to be taken or prohibited to be taken by any individual or lawfully-recognized business entity or other entity as a condition for the benefits purported to be conferred on the individual or other legal entity as a result of the use of the federal funds.
The bill exempts any agency receiving and administering federal funds that requires any level of security clearance to administer the funds.
SB 271 now moves to the House.