Oklahoma House speaker talks Capitol repair, tax cuts

Published: February 17, 2014
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The state Capitol architect briefed House Republicans on some of the major repairs needed for the nearly 100-year-old building, but newly elected House Speaker Jeff Hickman said Monday no consensus has been reached on how to finance the overhaul.

Hickman, who was elected speaker last week, met behind closed doors with the 72-member Republican caucus to discuss various proposals to cut the state’s income tax and plans to repair the Capitol.

“The overwhelming consensus is that something has to be done,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. “It’s just a question of what and how much that costs.

“There are obviously some structural issues, not the least of which is the plumbing issue that’s going to have to be addressed.”

Capitol architect Duane Mass outlined repairs needed for the Capitol that totaled $163 million.

The most obvious sign of problems with the 400,000-square-foot building are yellow barricades erected in 2011 on the south side of the Capitol to prevent pedestrians from approaching the south side of the building, where large chunks of limestone have been falling from the building’s facade. The building also has been plagued by outdated electrical and plumbing systems.