Sunday: State has given event $2.45 million since 2002
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Saturday, July 21, 2012
The Oklahoma Youth Expo — beneficiary of a planned $2 million state Agriculture Department donation that has brought controversy — has previously received $2.45 million from the department since 2002, state records show.
But tax forms filed by the charity earlier this year show expenses for the Oklahoma Youth Exposition Inc. were $693,866 higher than revenues in the year that ended May 31, 2011.
It was the second time in three years that expenses substantially outpaced revenue for the event, billed as the largest junior livestock show in the world, according to the expo’s reports to the IRS.
The Legislature’s general appropriation bill — the $6.8 billion spending measure that makes up the vast majority of the state budget for the year that began July 1 — included a $2 million increase for the Agriculture Department.
While the bill didn’t specify how the increased funding would be used, legislative leaders and a spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin have said there was an informal agreement that the money would go to the expo.
“The governor was presented with a budget deal that included funding for the Youth Expo which she agreed to, along with legislative leaders,” said Alex Weintz, spokesman for Fallin. “She supported that funding at the time and continues to support it.”
But legislators who were part of the negotiations in the tripartite talks among the governor’s office, the House and the Senate, suggest that it was Fallin’s people who were advocating funding for the youth expo.
Read more in Sunday's Tulsa World.
Attending a youth livestock show in March 2002 are (from left) Ron Norick, Gov. Frank Keating, Cathy Keating, Bob Funk, Lt. Gov. and Mary Fallin. Oklahoman file