Lawmakers Consider Selling Parts Of GRDA To Help Fund Budget
VINITA, Oklahoma - Lawmakers in Oklahoma City are exploring options this session to fund the state's budget crunch. One of those ideas is to sell off the Grand River Dam Authority.
The GRDA says it contributes $1 billion to Oklahoma's economy.
From the dams, power plants, lakes and streams, the GRDA is an independently run state agency in northeastern Oklahoma.
Some lawmakers at the Capitol want to cash in on those assets and are proposing selling off some of GRDA's assets in hopes of funding other state programs.
State Senator Greg Treat said, "If parts of that asset were in the private sector, they would be paying taxes that would be going to the local schools. They would be paying taxes that would go into general revenue that could help pay for partially for some of this."
Grand Lakers have been through this fight before.
"If it were sold today, the revenue would not go to the State of Oklahoma, it would go to the ratepayers of GRDA, as legislation stands right now," said Grand Times on Grand Lake publisher, Rusty Fleming.
They think selling off the GRDA is the last thing the Legislature should do to fix a budget hole.
Mike Williams with Shangri-La Resort said, "Naturally, something that's operating effectively and efficiently, always something, 'Hey let's sell that and raise some money.' The problem is, you know, you getting rid of parts that are working to benefit the state and you only solve a short-term problem because, pretty soon, the money is gone and you have a new problem."
Boat dealers, homeowners and business all argue the GRDA makes Grand Lake what it is today.
"It's become such a dominant force, that's because of good management, that's because of good partnerships, good public-private partnerships," Williams said.
Treat said his bill doesn't mean the GRDA has to be sold immediately, it just gives them the opportunity to do it down the road.