KGOU

Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program

State Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw)
Provided / Oklahoma House of Representatives

The Oklahoma House has narrowly passed legislation that would extend the state's Quality Jobs Act to chicken egg producers.

House members voted 51-43 on Tuesday for the Senate-passed measure.

Oklahoma's Quality Jobs Act provides cash incentives to companies that create jobs that have good salaries and benefits.

The bill's House author, Republican Rep. John Bennett of Sallisaw, says adding chicken egg producers to the program would encourage poultry companies to create new jobs and expand existing operations in and around his eastern Oklahoma district.

quality jobs paperwork
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma’s premier business incentive, the $1 billion Quality Jobs program, entered new territory nine years ago.

Until then, businesses only received payroll subsidies from the state if they created new jobs in Oklahoma.

In 2006, the program was expanded to begin providing subsidies for existing jobs if a “change in control” occurred and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce director determined the jobs were “likely to leave the state” because of new ownership.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma House and Senate leaders have introduced legislation that would require thorough reviews every four years of several dozen business incentives that are costing the state as much as $300 million annually.

Companion bills authored by House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, would create a seven-member Incentive Evaluation Commission to conduct the quadrennial reviews.

Oklahoma Watch

Over the past two decades, Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs Program has paid out $949 million in taxpayer funds to companies that said they would create as many as 235,841 new jobs for state residents. An Oklahoma Watch data analysis shows that the number of jobs actually created fell far below initial projections. Fewer than half of the jobs projected materialized by the required deadline and qualified for subsidies.

Expert Infantry / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Mary Fallin signed more than three dozen bills Wednesday, including a controversial abortion measure and legislation designed to prevent abuse and neglect of disabled children.

State Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City)
www.okhouse.gov

The decision last week by Spirit AeroSystems to lay off 360 employees from its facilities in Kansas and Oklahoma is causing one lawmaker to question economic incentives the company receives from the state.

Representative Mike Reynolds says he is “disgusted” that the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program would give millions of taxpayer dollars to Spirit for job creation at the same time the company is reducing its workforce.

A news release from Reynolds says the aircraft parts manufacturer received two payments through the program for more than 2-million dollars.