Gov. Fallin urges legislators to fix the Capitol
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Friday, January 18, 2013
1/18/13 at 7:00 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday that she will be urging lawmakers to come up with a solution to fix the crumbling state Capitol.
"All options are on the table," said Fallin, who toured the building with reporters and others.
She viewed damaged pipes, cracks, leaks, an outdated electrical system, plumbing problems and pieces of limestone which have fallen off the exterior of the building on the south side. Officials have erected barricades and set up scaffolding to protect those entering from the south.
Last legislative session, House members voted down a proposed bond issue for the repairs.
Fallin said several options are available to pay for the repairs, including a bond issue, cash and tapping into the state's "rainy day" fund.
The cost of fixing the Capitol is uncertain, but it is in the neighborhood of $160 million, said Duane Mass, Capitol architect.
The Capitol is no different than any other 100-year-old building and has performed admirably, Mass said.
"Now we just need to give it some good love," Mass said.
Part of the challenge will be to keep state government running while the repairs are made, Mass said.
Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger said the operations budget for the building is $1.8 million. But officials have spent about $8.8 million since 2000 on emergency and nonroutine building maintenance.
Rather than just putting a Band-Aid on the problem, officials need to come up with a solution, he said.
The governor said the situation needs to be addressed.
"It is time to get serious about repairing the state Capitol building and the state Capitol complex," Fallin said. "The longer we let it go, the more expensive it is going to be - plus the more damage we are going to have, which makes the job even bigger to repair.
"But more than any of that is just the safety and the concern of our working employees who are in this building, our visitors who come here, the important transactions that occur in this building with the various state agencies, certain the House, the Senate, the other elected officials that are in this building."
Fallin said the state can still reduce the state's income tax, something she will be advocating for again after it failed during the last session, and pay to repair the Capitol.
"We can do both," Fallin said. "We can have a tax cut, but it has to be reasonable. It has to be fair. We have to still be able to provide the services we need for our state. It can grow our economy."
Oklahoma Capitol building
Initial cost: $1.5 million
Square feet: 450,000
Employees: 450 during the interim; 600-700 during the legislative session
Tenants: Governor, lieutenant governor, House of Representatives, Senate, state auditor and inspector, state treasurer, secretary of state, Office of Management and Enterprise Services, Ethics Commission and Election Board
Original Print Headline: Fallin urges Capitol fix
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
Gov. Mary Fallin and Douglas Kellogg with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services examine deteriorating areas of the state Capitol on Thursday. DAVID MCDANIEL/The Oklahoman
Gov. Mary Fallin and architect Duane Mass tour some of the deteriorating areas of the Capitol building on Thursday. DAVID MCDANIEL/The Oklahoman
Architect Duane Mass points Thursday to where pieces of the exterior have fallen off the state Capitol building. DAVID MCDANIEL/The Oklahoman
Douglas Kellogg of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday view some of the deterioration at the 100-year-old state Capitol. DAVID MCDANIEL/The Oklahoman