Members of the Government Modernization Committee last week learned that more than $3.1 million has been generated through a program of inventorying and selling underutilized state government properties, returning them to the private sector.

Much of the money has been used to repair and maintain the roofs of three Department of Corrections’ facilities. This is an example of finding efficiencies in state government.

More than 362,000 square feet of owned and leased space has been removed from state custody, giving taxpayers the added savings of not having to maintain this property. In other news at the Capitol this week, opposition to Gov. Fallin’s proposed $1.7 billion sales tax expansion continues to grow. Almost 30 conservative legislators are now publicly on the record against these tax hikes.

In her State-of-the-State address, the governor presented a plan that would tax 164 different categories of services provided by Oklahoma small businesses and entrepreneurs. She would tax funeral service, doctor and dentist visits, legal assistance, numerous banking transactions, residential electricity and more. She also would raise the tax on gas and diesel fuel.

The legislators opposed to these tax increases have pledged to do what they can to stop them from becoming law. We want to make Oklahoma consumer and business friendly and find ways to expand our tax base, not continually burden our middle and low-income earners and our small businesses. The property sales mentioned above are a good start on finding revenue sources. There’s more to be found.

I’ll keep you updated about this and other legislation as the session progresses.

Sean Roberts represents Oklahoma House District 36, which includes Osage and Tulsa counties. He can be reached at (405) 557-7322 or Sean.Roberts@okhouse.gov.