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Stitt vetos $10-million in ARPA funding for Oklahoma Arts Council

8:15 AM EDT on October 6, 2022

I guess the Oklahoma Arts Council's old plan to charm Kevin Stitt with praise and fealty didn't work out as planned!

Earlier this morning, the Oklahoma arts community awoke to the news that Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt vetoed SB 18 – a bipartisan bill that would have designated $10-million from the state's $1.8-billion ARPA treasure chest to the Oklahoma Arts Council to "address the negative economic impacts of the pandemic by providing assistance to impacted nonprofit organizations."

Stitt vetoed the legislation despite it passing through the Oklahoma House (80-9) and Oklahoma Senate (37-7) by overwhelming margins:

Yeah, that's not surprising.

Even though one of his daughters is a talented artist, we all know Stitt considers art more of a government-draining public nuisance that needs to be abolished than a public good that adds to our culture, quality of life, and economy.

In addition to that, the political director for his re-election campaign is infamous former Oklahoma legislator and plagiarist Josh Cockroft. He's best known around these parts as the guy who introduced legislation in 2013 to completely defund the Oklahoma Arts Council. Remember him?

Even though this isn't a surprise, this still has to be disappointing for the Oklahoma Arts Community.

Back in 2021, we were the only media outlet in the state to point out that Stitt required local arts organizations to pay fealty and homage to him on social media in order to secure a drop from the last round of Covid funding. Remember that?

The fact that Stitt singled out one sector to praise him in order to get Covid funding – and didn't ask the same from any other – was absurd and irritating and tells you everything you need to know about him, but it did lead to some now regrettable and ironic social media photos like this…

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If you let those people have their way, I wonder what those certificates would say now?

Anyway, who knows – maybe Stitt vetoed this round of funding because it didn't have the same fealty clause, or maybe – just maybe – it's because he's a petty uncultured asshole who doesn't appreciate the arts! Either way, although he vetoed the legislation, it's still not dead.

Once again, many of Stitt's conservative colleagues in the House and Senate actually think it's a good idea for the state to do what governments have been doing for thousands of years and support the arts with a bit of funding. It may shock you, but both liberals and conservatives alike – including those in rural areas – actually like to participate in art classes, workshops, theatrical productions, etc., that won't exist without some sort of state support. As Stitt would say, "Imagine That!"

As a result, there's a chance the legislature may try to override Stitt's veto or pass a new bill in the regular session. I guess we'll wait around and see.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.

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