‘Off-the-top’ money is under microscope as Oklahoma lawmakers try to fill huge budget hole
by Rick Green
As this year’s session of the Oklahoma Legislature moves into its final month, attention is being focused on ways to close a $611 million budget shortfall.
Front and center in that discussion is so-called “off-the-top” money. This state funding, which is outside the Legislature’s normal appropriations process, is getting a close examination.
The Oklahoma Association of General Contractors wants to make sure that examination doesn’t end up decreasing money its members receive from the state to repair and upgrade roads and bridges. That’s why it has launched a $320,000 “No U-Turn On Funding” advertising push, its biggest advocacy campaign ever.
A commercial for the campaign uses the voice of an impressionist who sounds like Morgan Freeman to conjure up an image of falling bridges. The commercial, which is being played across the state, shows road repair work in progress and ends with the phone numbers of the Oklahoma House and Senate. It asks viewers to call legislators.