It's no secret that state employees go to a lot of meetings each year. But how much money are those meetings costing taxpayers?
In the last fiscal year, state agencies and higher education institutions spent more than $1 million dollars on meeting refreshments and associated costs, despite a $611 million budget hole. That hole is expected to expand this year.
Higher education institutions spend the most money on meetings throughout the year. Meanwhile, officials at the State Regents for Higher Education received a 2.4 percent budget cut last year, but spent more than $4,000 to meet at the Oklahoma City Petroleum Club.
The most staggering cost for an individual gathering came from the State Supreme Court. Despite a 2 percent budget cut, the yearly Sovereignty Symposium went off without a hitch at the Skirvin Hotel costing taxpayers nearly $13,000. The Department of Career and Technology education spent nearly $24,000 at meetings across the state after receiving a 3.5 percent budget cut for the year.
We also paid for more than $460 of alcohol at Corkscrew Liquor for the OU College of Law. From drinks to donuts and coffee--we paid for it.