The Edmond Sun

August 2, 2013

Lawmakers to review National Guard funding

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND —  An interim study this fall by state Sen. Clark Jolley will review National Guard funding and long-range planning for the maintenance, renovation and new construction of National Guard armories and related facilities in Oklahoma.

“As the sequestration has resulted in a loss of military construction, the renovation of existing armory facilities has become more important to ensure our National Guard has the ability to recruit, retain and prepare our soldiers for natural disasters or service to our country,” said Jolley, R-Edmond.

Funding for the National Guard comes from both the state and the federal government. Federal funding for the National Guard ranges from 0 to 100 percent of expense, depending on the nature of the cost, Jolley said.

State lawmakers have not required a line-item budget for the National Guard for maintenance, renovation and new construction.

However, about $1.5 million additional dollars for these renovation projects has been approved in the last two budget cycles, Jolley said.

The interim study will look at the need to increase, shift or decrease related funding.

State Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, will join Jolley in another interim study to evaluate a fair and safe rate for motor vehicle report fees.

“Since the fee increase in 2010, fewer insurance companies have requested MVRs while some trucking companies have seen a dramatic cost increase,” Jolley said.

Motor vehicle report fees more than doubled during the budget shortfalls several years ago from $10 to $25 per pull, Jolley said.

“I believe the Legislature shot the state in the foot by increasing the fee too much too soon,” Jolley said. “As a result, the number of pulls from insurance companies has dwindled and the cost on the trucking industry, which has no option but to use MVRs has become burdensome. We need to establish how much it costs the state to generate and provide the report for the consumers and lower it to that amount.” | 341-2121