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Gov. Henry taps auditor to lead stimulus oversight, announces website

Oklahoma City_Press Release_Saying Oklahomans need to know that every dollar of the federal stimulus package is being used efficiently and effectively, Gov. Brad Henry today announced the creation of a state website to track stimulus funds and the appointment of State Auditor and Inspector Steve Burrage to serve as a watchdog on stimulus expenditures.

"In light of the size and scope of the stimulus package, complete transparency is essential to ensure public confidence," said the governor. "Oklahoma taxpayers need and deserve to know how every dollar will be spent in our state. By posting all information on the web and having the auditor oversee the process, we can bolster public trust and ensure an informed citizenry."

Under the governor's plan, stimulus data will be posted on the Office of State Finance's "Open Books" web site at www.ok.gov/okaa. The stimulus site can also be accessed by Gov. Henry's web site at www.gov.ok.gov.  Officials with OSF hope to have the site online this week.

At Gov. Henry's request, Auditor Burrage will help oversee the stimulus process, particularly the expenditure of federal funds.  The governor has already tasked all members of his executive cabinet to review stimulus needs in their areas of expertise and help facilitate the application for and effective use of stimulus dollars.

"Members of my executive cabinet have been working directly with state lawmakers, federal officials, agency heads and other interested parties to make sure we follow the stimulus legislation's strict guidelines and direct the funds where they will do the most good," said the governor.

"Auditor Burrage will be a great addition to this team and will provide Oklahomans with the watchdog they need to ensure funds are used in the most efficient and effective manner possible."

Oklahoma and other states will receive federal stimulus funding over a two to three year period.  Gov. Henry said state officials began making plans for the funds late last year when policy makers in Washington, DC first began discussions on an economic recovery plan.

The governor instructed Secretary of State Susan Savage to track the initiative and obtain information about federal guidelines and potential uses for stimulus dollars.  State Treasurer Scott Meacham has worked closely with a number of public and private sector leaders, including leading state lawmakers, to determine how the stimulus funds may be applied to the state budget.  Gov. Henry has also sought input from other public and private sector leaders, including legislative leaders, State Schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett and others.
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