Republicans in the Oklahoma House will back only a state bond proposal to repair the deteriorating state capitol this year, despite requests for other efforts.
Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said the House Appropriations and Budget Committee has received requests for $1.1 billion of bonds.
Sears, the chairman of the committee, said his poll of the majority Republican caucus found no support for anything beyond capitol repairs. Some members support some proposals, he said, but there was no general consensus.
Sears estimated the cost of the repair effort at $140 million.
Blake Wade, executive director of the Native American Cultural Educational Authority and the American Indian Cultural Foundation, said the authority would seek a $40 million bond issue to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum. The proceeds would be matched with private donations for the museum in Oklahoma City.
The state has issued $67 million of debt for the Indian museum, which is a state agency.
Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, has filed legislation that would put the museum’s $40 million request to a statewide vote.
“If the Legislature is going to consider obligating Oklahomans to another $40 million in debt on a non-essential function of state government, the taxpayers of this state should at the very least be given an opportunity to have their voices heard,” Treat said.
“While I’m personally opposed to the state going further into debt, I think it would be wise for state leaders to make a decision on this issue as early as possible in the upcoming legislative session,” he said.
Treat said debt service on bonds already issued for the project totals $5.5 million in fiscal 2012.