Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bill Revision Proposed for Authority

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bill Revision Proposed for Authority

Article excerpt

A revision was proposed Wednesday to a bill defining the roles of the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority (ODFA) and its oversight agency.

Under authority President Carl Clark's proposal for Senate Bill 460, the Legislative and Executive Bond Oversight Commissions would be replaced with a single Council of Bond Oversight.

Last month, the oversight commissions imposed a moratorium on $7.5 million in "credit enhancement" loans approved by the authority for Oklahoma businesses.

In a nine-page memorandum to Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate conferees, members of the commissions, authority directors and Oklahoma Futures, Clark outlined his proposals for settling the dispute over the development finance authority's lending policies.

"We urge you to read this material and to support this effort to resolve a problem which exists because current law provides no clear definition of Oversight's role in relation to ODFA's credit enhancement responsibilities," Clark wrote.

Senate Bill 460, also known as the Bond Oversight and Reform Act, "is most germane and provides an excellent vehicle to address the problem," he wrote.

The bill, proposed to improve the privacy of companies seeking loans backed by state's bond-financed Credit Enhancement Reserve Fund, is in joint conference committee.

Clark said he does not expect his plan to be welcomed with open arms, because it proposes to abolish the oversight commissions, which are at odds with the development finance authority over its lending policies.

Clark said the authority board had not yet seen his proposal.

"It's my baby, I guess," he said.

"The ODFA is not resistant to oversight," Clark said in a Wednesday meeting of Oklahoma Futures, the state's public-private economic development advisory board. "That's not the problem. But we need a clear, legal definition of Oversight's role."

Clark said the law states the bond oversight commissions, under existing law, are empowered to deny development finance authority-approved loans on the basis of "public purpose and compliance with the law. …

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