Monday, February 22, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today said she is optimistic about recent economic development activity, despite the downturn being experienced in the energy sector.
“During the first six months of the fiscal year, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce reports that 28 companies made plans to invest more than $2.3 billion over a ramp-up period of three years. These investments will create more than 3,600 new jobs with a projected average annual wage of more than $64,000,” said Fallin. “The attraction and expansion projects secured in the first half of the 2016 fiscal year alone will bring an estimated $232 million in new annual payroll to the state. That’s good news.”
In 2013, the Oklahoma Legislature overhauled the state’s workers’ compensation system and addressed the need for lawsuit reform. At last count, businesses have saved more than $368 million in workers’ compensation costs since 2013 and the state's ranking on its litigation environment has risen from 42nd to 33rd, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform. Both issues are critical to making Oklahoma more attractive to business.
“As we work to further diversify the state’s economy, it is critical that we have economic development tools like Quality Jobs, the investment tax credit, the historic building tax credit, the aerospace industry engineer tax credit and Pooled Finance at our disposal,” Fallin said. “It would be extremely unwise for us to put a moratorium, however temporary it may be, on effective methods of bringing new investment and jobs, as well as the opportunity for increased income, to our state.
“I’ve always said that the state should keep incentives that work and phase out those that don’t. That’s why I signed legislation last year that requires all business tax incentives to be objectively evaluated at least once every four years and requires future incentives to include measurable goals. The Incentive Evaluation Commission will hold its first meeting Thursday.”
For more information, visit www.okcommerce.gov/data/employers or contact Leslie Blair, public information officer for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, at email@example.com or 405-815-5241.