NORMAN — Public television’s state funding narrowly survived a House vote this past week. We urge Gov. Mary Fallin to sign the bill keeping the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority as a state agency for at least two more years.
Some lawmakers, including the incoming House speaker, think the $3.8 million spent on OETA is not a core function of government. We differ and think OETA is a worthwhile service of state government. It provides a needed television outlet, broadcasting free statewide in areas not served by cable television.
Children are entertained and educated by many of the television shows. Programming engages seniors, too.
The OETA budget has been cut by more than $1 million in recent years. The staff has been reduced. The news broadcasts have been pared down and the coverage of state issues has suffered.
Lawmakers arguing against OETA have said private resources would step in and fill the void. The state has provided about $3.8 million or about 40 percent of the organization’s annual operating budget.