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Oklahoma House Passes Energy Fund Plan

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Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma House has passed legislation designed to stabilize the state budgeting process by removing the volatility from oil and natural gas tax collections.

The House voted 97-2 for the measure and sent it to the Senate for final passage on Friday, the final day of the 2010 Oklahoma Legislature.

The measure is a legislative priority for House Speaker Chris Benge of Tulsa, a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill would establish a three-year average of gas and oil collections by the state that would be available for appropriation. Whatever is collected above that amount would be set aside in the energy stabilization fund for distribution when prices are low.

Benge says the fund will become active in 2015 to help mitigate budget shortfalls.

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