OKLAHOMA CITY – The Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT) oversight committee will meet for the first time in late July at the Oklahoma Capitol.
LOFT is legislative office created this year in a bill by House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat. LOFT will provide the public and policymakers with independent, objective research and data on state spending and program evaluation and performance.
The Speaker and President Pro Tempore appointed a bipartisan group of legislators to serve on the committee that will oversee and guide the work of LOFT.
The oversight committee will meet at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, in Room 419-C at the Oklahoma Capitol.
“LOFT will be a game-changer because it will enhance and expand transparency and accountability in state spending by providing independent, objective data on state spending and program performance,” said Senate Pro Temp Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “I’m confident the oversight committee will do a great job guiding LOFT. I’m excited to see the progress made in the coming weeks as LOFT begins to take shape.”
CapitolBeatOK, an online news service, designated Treat’s establishment of the LOFT concept as one of the top 15 stories in Oklahoma state government for the year 2018.
Patrick B. McGuigan, editor of CapitolBeatOK and publisher of The City Sentinel newspaper, wrote at the time Treat’s move “gives hopes for substantive, recurring and methodical investigations (examinations might be a less confrontational word) of government agencies.”
“I am excited for the LOFT Committee to meet and begin the process of getting implemented,” said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. “LOFT is a much-needed resource for the Legislature that, frankly, should have been created long ago. We have members that are ready to roll their sleeves up and solve problems, but it is difficult to do without timely and accurate information about agency spending and programs. LOFT will provide the House and Senate the information and analysis we need to make good, informed decisions on behalf of Oklahoma’s citizens.”
Treat appointed Senator Roger Thompson, R-Okemah and Senate Appropriations Committee chair, to serve as the co-chair of the oversight committee, while McCall named Representative Kevin Wallace to serve the House as co-chair of the panel.
“LOFT is a tremendous concept that will serve the Legislature and the public by increasing transparency and accountability in the expenditure of our tax dollars. We’ve already been at work behind the scenes and I’m looking forward to our first oversight committee meeting. We’re going to hit the ground running and set LOFT up for great success moving forward,” Thompson said.
“It is the Legislature’s job to ensure agencies are spending taxpayer dollars wisely and without waste, and LOFT will help us do that more effectively,” said House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston. “LOFT will ensure that lawmakers from both chambers are working off the same information, and it will get that information to us prior to agency budget requests so we are making decisions based off of what we know rather than just trusting what agency leaders tell us. I believe LOFT will drastically improve our budgeting process and help us work more efficiently for our citizens.”
The LOFT Oversight Committee members are :
- Kevin Wallace, co-chair
- Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
- Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City
- Mike Osburn, R-Edmond
- Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa
- Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City
- Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa
- Senator Roger Thompson, co-chair
- Senator Kim David, R-Porter
- Senator Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee
- Senator Frank Simpson, R-Springer
- Senator Chuck Hall, R-Guthrie
- Senator Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City
- Senator Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City