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Oklahoma State Senate

Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: February 9, 2005

Audio Clip

Senator Johnnie Crutchfield

Higher Education Bond Issue Approved by Committee

A $500 million Higher Education Bond Issue cleared its first legislative hurdle today, passing out of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, Senator Johnnie Crutchfield, chairman of the committee said.

“Today we accomplished the first step in passing the biggest economic development program Oklahoma has seen in more than a decade.” Crutchfield, a Democrat from Ardmore said. “Our goal is to get this bill through the Senate and over to the House for action as quickly as possible.”

Senate Appropriations Chairman, Mike Morgan, (D-Stillwater) said the bill will be heard by the full Appropriations Committee on February 16th. Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson said he was pleased Senators worked quickly to pass the bill out of committee and said consideration on the Senate floor for the legislation could come as early as the following week.

Hobson, author of Senate Bill 745, said the legislation is clean and doesn’t include any “funding gimmicks.”

“We are investing $500 million in education without raising taxes, without increasing fees for our college students and without passing along the costs to parents who already invest so much in their child’s education,” Hobson said.

Crutchfield agreed. He explained revenue generated from the lottery that voters overwhelmingly passed in November will be used to pay off the bonds at a rate of $30 million for 25 years.

“Passing the Higher Education Bond Issue as quickly as possible is an investment for a brighter future in Oklahoma and funding education first is an important part of our continuing work to make a better tomorrow for our children,” Crutchfield said.

The Higher Education Bond Issue includes $500 million for capital improvement projects for colleges and universities throughout the state. The project is expected to create 4000 construction jobs and have an initial economic impact of more than $737 million.

Hobson said an enormous amount of research has already gone into the bill and the bond projects included in the $500 million package represent the priority needs of the state’s colleges and universities.

“The Governor, the Regents for Higher Education and all 24 college presidents are in support of this measure,” the lawmaker said. “Building a state-of-the-art learning environment on every campus in Oklahoma will help produce more college graduates in our state and expanding the research capabilities of our colleges will create new job opportunities in the private sector and allow our young people to compete in the global marketplace.”

“Passing this measure will not only build better classrooms and expand learning opportunities across the state,” Hobson said. “I agree with Senator Crutchfield that it will also allow us to continue to build a better tomorrow for our children.”

For more information contact:
Senate President Pro Tempore's Office - (405) 521-5605

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