(Oklahoma City-AP) -- The state is paying more than four times more to hire private businesses than it did seven years ago.
A report by the State Auditor and Inspector's office says Oklahoma spent $437 million in fiscal year 1999 for professional services that are defined as mental or intellectual in character.
That amount is up from $103 million spent for similar services seven years earlier.
The report says the increased spending is due to the use of private prisons, funding programs for the mentally ill and providing medical services for the poor.
The information was requested by a legislative task force. State Representative James Dunegan says he wants to know if services are duplicated, or if the state is paying for services that a state agency should provide.