As more than $15 million in May 2013 tornado relief funds sit idle, Oklahoma Farm Bureau strongly encourages legislative members to defeat HJR 1092, a measure that would increase Oklahoma ad valorem taxes to build storm shelters in schools.
“Our members live and work in many of the communities too often affected by tornadoes and violent weather, so we are certainly not overlooking the need for storm shelters in our schools,” said John Collison, OKFB vice president of public policy and media relations. “We are just asking the legislature to consider the millions of donated dollars still available before looking to the taxpayers to fund shelters.”
Just recently, several large private donations were made to help fund the construction of storm shelters in schools:
- On April 23, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief organization donated $500,000 to Moore Public Schools to build a 1,600-person storm shelter.
- On May 1, Shelter Oklahoma Schools donated $100,000 to Fairview Public Schools for the construction of a storm shelter. Shelter Oklahoma Schools has made similar donations to several schools since last fall and continues to identify schools that need shelters.
Furthermore, on May 15, the American Red Cross announced a $6.5 million grant to several Oklahoma communities going toward the installation of as many as 4,000 storm shelters.
“While I think we all agree school storm shelters are important for our communities, HJR 1092 provides a fiscally irresponsible approach to the problem,” Collison said. “We encourage our state legislators to look past the politics of this bill and vote no.”