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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2012

Sen. Patrick Anderson
Sen. Patrick Anderson

Anderson requests Attorney General’s opinion on constitutionality of Master Lease Programs

Sen. Patrick Anderson announced today that he is requesting an Attorney General’s opinion regarding the constitutionality of the Master Lease Personal Property and Real Property Programs. These programs are used by Oklahoma’s colleges and universities to pay for various projects on their campuses. Anderson is disturbed by the fact that the projects are not voted on by the Oklahoma Legislature or citizens, but instead are typically funded through increased student fees and tuition.

“I believe there are some fundamental flaws in the manner in which the Master Lease programs have been established and are operated that make them unconstitutional. The original purpose of these programs was to allow colleges and universities to save money when purchasing copiers and computers, but has now ballooned to annual multimillion dollar requests,” said Anderson, R-Enid. “I believe that our State Constitution requires that the people of the State of Oklahoma vote to approve this debt or, at the very least, it should be required that the Legislature vote to approve these projects.”

In 2010, the Master Lease Real Property projects alone totaled $102.7 million. In 2011, the projects totaled $131 million. This year, the project requests for the master lease real and personal property program total $250 million.

“The amount of debt being proposed in the real property program has increased exponentially over the last few years,” said Anderson. “While not all requested programs are funded, there appears to be no maximum limit to the cumulative total of the debt that is being incurred under this program. This is not right or fiscally responsible of the legislature to allow this to continue.”

Anderson also voiced concerns about legislative leaders attempting to use the Master lease programs to build a new Medical Examiner’s building rather than bring a regular bond issue before the legislature for consideration.

“It stretches one’s imagination to claim that a new building for the State Medical Examiner should be funded through the Regents for Higher Education,” said Anderson. “Furthermore, the building that they are proposing to build is the size of a football field at a cost of nearly $1,000 per square foot.”

“My fear is that if the door is opened to allow legislators to add projects to the Master Lease program then there will be no stopping the abuse that will be sure to follow,” said Anderson. “If this abuse is allowed to continue then next year we will probably see the University of Oklahoma Native American Culture Center or the Tulsa Community College Pops Museum.”

“It appears at this point that the State’s Attorney General is the only person who can protect the taxpayers of Oklahoma from these continued abuses,” said Anderson. “I am hopeful that Attorney General Pruitt, as a fellow constitutional conservative, will agree with me that the Master Lease programs are unconstitutional and that these bond issues should be required to be approved by a vote of the people of Oklahoma.”

Anderson's letter requesting AG opinion

2010 Requested Projects

2011 Requested Projects

2012 Requested Projects

For more information, contact:
Sen. Anderson: (405) 521-5630

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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