“No” votes by Senate Republicans Wednesday may have doomed the celebration of Oklahoma’s Centennial in 2007, Senator Jeff Rabon said.
Senate Bill 5X, which would have provided $10 million in funding for projects across the state, failed on a 24-23 vote with all 22 Republican Senators voting against the measure.
“Because they defeated this bill, its unlikely now that there will be any state funds to finish centennial projects in towns like Ponca City, Choctaw, Owasso, Seminole and Tinker Air Force Base,” Rabon said.
“The Republicans have done a great disservice to their own constituents who have worked for years to raise millions of dollars from non-state sources to fund new museums and monuments, statues and festivals.
“Without the state funds included in Senate Bill 5X, there just won’t be enough money to finish the projects or to fund others.”
Rabon, a member of the Centennial Commission, noted that the commission was created during the tenure of former Governor Frank Keating and was designed to insulate the Centennial Celebration from politics.
Communities and organizations across the state make application to the Centennial Commission and the non-partisan body reviews and selects projects eligible for state funding.
“What Republicans advocated on the floor today was for the Legislature to pick and choose which Centennial projects and celebrations would be funded. Everyone agreed at the outset of the planning of the Centennial that this was the best process and I still believe that,” Rabon said.
The Hugo Democrat held the bill over on reconsideration meaning that should Republicans change their minds, the Senate can return to the Capitol and approve the measure.