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Bond issue unlikely in Oklahoma House, speaker says

The speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives says there's no will for a bond issue this year for any project. He made the comments while announcing legislative priorities for the Republican House.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: January 31, 2013 at 10:19 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013

A bond issue for any project seems likely to fail in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, House Speaker T.W. Shannon said Thursday.

“Certainly this year I don't believe that there's a will at this point to do a bond,” Shannon said.

The House last year crushed a proposed $200 million bond issue to pay for repairs and renovations to the state Capitol and other buildings in the Capitol complex. The full House didn't consider a $20 million bond issue for a popular culture museum in downtown Tulsa and a $40 million bond issue to help finish the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in downtown Oklahoma City.

Two years ago, the House didn't take up bond issues for a building for the Veterans Affairs Department and a laboratory for the state medical examiner's office.

Shannon made his comments while announcing the House Republican Caucus's legislative agenda, which included a three-point plan addressing economic development, education changes and infrastructure funding and maintenance. House Republicans outnumber Democrats 72-29.

Shannon, flanked by 26 House Republicans, proposed an eight-year, pay-as-you-go plan to directly fund the upkeep and repair of infrastructure.

“In the past, the model has been to neglect infrastructure to the point of decay and then to take out bonds to repair those needs,” he said.

“We're going to be proposing legislation that will look at a pay-as-you go plan that makes infrastructure needs a priority, not just on roads and bridges, but all state assets, and coming up with a plan,” he said.

Rep. Scott Martin, chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, said he will be proposing a measure that will reduce the top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent.

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