The Norman Transcript

Headlines

January 23, 2013

Lawmaker wants to eliminate OAC funding

OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill filed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives proposes all funding to the Oklahoma Arts Council (OAC) be eliminated.

The legislation, written by state Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Tecumseh, would reduce state government funding to the OAC each fiscal year by 25 percent, eventually ending the appropriation in 2017.

The first reading takes place Feb. 4. If passed, the bill will become effective July 1. Cockroft said the bill may be assigned to a committee next week.

Cockroft said his intent in writing HB 1895 is to simplify state spending and focus on funneling state tax dollars to core government functions like education.

“My goal with this bill isn’t to destroy the arts in Oklahoma. It’s actually quite contrary. I personally have been involved in the arts over the last couple of years,” Cockroft said. “I think there is a need and an incredible desire for that here in Oklahoma. The question is: Is that the state government’s responsibility?”

The state appropriates $4 million to the OAC every year, Cockroft said.

According to the OAC website, $4 million is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the state budget, with 80 percent of funding going directly to communities across the state. Those funds support Oklahoma’s $314.8 million nonprofit arts and cultural industry and more than 10,000 jobs. The industry generates $29 million in state and local tax revenue.

Joel Gavin, OAC director of marketing and communications, said about 85 percent of OAC’s budget comes from state appropriations, with the remainder coming from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA grant is contingent upon the state having an arts council, so the bill threatens NEA funding as well. Without state funding, it’s more than just the OAC suffering.

“If HB 1895 passes, funding for over 300 organizations in communities throughout the state would be gone. Development services for individuals, organizations and communities that strengthen the cultural infrastructure of our state would be gone,” Gavin said. “Funding for arts education programs serving nearly 195,000 students at 750 school sites would be eliminated.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Photo Slideshow: James Garner through the years

    Photos of James Garner...

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Health officials prepare for flu

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a flu season in which a record number of Oklahomans died as a result of the virus, state and county health officials say educating the public and general common sense are vital to reducing both the death rate and ...

    July 27, 2014