With lawmakers facing an estimated $1 billion shortfall, the state is doing what most of us would do if we were short on cash: Cutting corners; looking at other ways of bringing in money; and selling off what we don’t need.
What tops the list for the state? Selling off some of its property.
Right now, the State of Oklahoma owns tens of thousands of pieces of property.
“The only entity that owns more than us is the Federal Government,” said John Estus with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, “We’re number two. The Federal Government is number one.”
So the state has identified 30-properties that are underutilized, like the old Griffin Memorial Hospital in Norman, the former State Capital Publishing Building in Guthrie and the old Armory in Oklahoma City. Right now it's just used for storage, but the state would like to see it revitalized; maybe used for office space or an entertainment venue.
“This building means a lot to Oklahomans,” Estus said, “It means a lot to the military community. It’s an iconic building. Everybody recognizes it.”
In all, the state would like to raise $30-to-50-million for the listed parcels.
“Every time we sell one of these underutilized buildings the money is put into the maintenance fund for other state buildings so we sell the buildings we don’t need to take care of the ones we do need,” Estus said.
After all, the buildings aren't doing anyone any good sitting empty and off the tax rolls.
“For most of our state history we have been the ultimate hoarder at state government. We have refused to let go of buildings we don’t need,” Estus said, “We’ve just been packrats.”