Oklahoma House Bill 2218 would eliminate state funding to OETA, public broadcasts

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma bill making its way through the House of Representatives would cut state funding to public broadcasts. 

Under House Bill 2218, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority would receive incremental cuts until 2022, after which the network would obtain no further state appropriations. 

The first round of cuts would reduce funding by 25 percent. If at the end of that period OETA were to find alternate funding, Oklahoma would enact cuts of 10, 10, 20 and 35 percent over the next four years. 

If it could not, however, state funding would be even more drastically reduced, in increments of 20, 20, 20 and 15 percent.

SEE THE BILL (http://bit.ly/XpKTlF)

In 2012, OETA received $3,822,328 from the state of Oklahoma--53 percent of its operating revenue for the year.

MORE: OETA 2012 audit (http://bit.ly/10CAPmb)

Rep. Tom Newell, author of the bill, appears to be taking a page out of Mitt Romney's playbook. During last year's first presidential debate,  Romney made a much-talked about comment  about his plans for PBS if he were elected. 

Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, opposes the legislation, calling it "an attempt to suffocate one of the people of Oklahoma's most valuable assets." 

"OETA is a highly valued organization, cherished by so many Oklahomans," McDaniel said in a press release. "Legislators must be good stewards to protect this important education, entertainment, and history outlet. We must preserve this agency and work together with their board as we build for tomorrow's audiences."

The bill passed the Appropriation and Budget Committee 13-5 last month and now must head to the House floor.

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