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Oklahoma AG Says Legislature Mishandled Funds Totaling $16M

Oklahoma attorney generalThe office of the Oklahoma Attorney General issued two opinions in November, both finding that the Oklahoma Legislature violated Article X, Section 19 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Section 19 requires that taxes raised for one purpose may only be used for that purpose.

Assistant Democratic Floor Leader Mike Shelton submitted a question to the Attorney General’s office, concerning taxes collected for the Trauma Care Assistance Fund. The fund reimburses “trauma facilities, licensed ambulance service providers and physicians” for uncompensated trauma treatment.

On June 3, 2014, the Governor signed SB 2127, transferring $5 million from the Trauma Care Assistance Fund to the Special Cash Fund of the State Treasury to be designated for other uses.

The Attorney General concluded that this transfer violated Article X, Section 19 of the Oklahoma Constitution because the fund was neither in surplus nor undesignated for a specific purpose. 

Members of the Worker’s Compensation Panel also submitted a question to the office of the Oklahoma Attorney General, concerning taxes collected exclusively for the Worker’s Compensation Fund.

Of the approximately $11 million collected for the fund, the legislature only appropriated $5.5 million to the fund, with the remainder designated for purposes other than the fund.

The Oklahoma Attorney General determined that this violated the state Constitution.

To read the full opinion from the Oklahoma Attorney General regarding the Trauma Care Assistance Fund, click here.

To read the full opinion from the Oklahoma Attorney General regarding the Worker’s Compensation Fund, click here.

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