Oklahoma senators pass $7 billion economic incentive package

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Published Friday, April 22, 2022
by Kim Jarrett | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - The Oklahoma Senate passed an economic incentive package Thursday that would give nearly $7 billion of tax rebates to a company creating thousands of jobs after nearly three hours of debate.

The bill, dubbed the "Large-scale Economic Activity and Development Act of 2022," eventually passed 41-5. 

House Bill 4455 would give a rebate to a company that creates at least 500 jobs in the first year and 4,000 jobs by its fifth year. 

The company must file a capital expenditure plan with the Department of Commerce with qualified capital expenditures that total no less than $3.6 billion, according to the bill's fiscal note. 

"Additionally, to be eligible, an establishment must have made qualified capital expenditures of no less than 20% of its capital expenditure plan, be qualified to receive payments through the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program Act, and have filed all Oklahoma tax returns and documents," according to the fiscal note.

"You do what you say you are going to do you get the rebate," said Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, who presented the bill to the Senate. "If you don't, it stays with Oklahomans."

Gov. Kevin Stitt asked lawmakers Monday to pass the rebate package he said would help lure a Fortune 500 company to the state. He did not name the company but asked lawmakers to pass the legislation this week. 

"It's our understanding that the company needs to make a decision fairly quickly," the governor said. "Some other states have already passed some different legislation."

Bloomberg News reported in March that Panasonic was eying Kansas and Oklahoma for a new manufacturing facility that would make batteries for electric vehicles.

The Kansas Legislature passed a bill in February that would give a new manufacturing company more than $1 billion in incentives, according to Fox 4 News.

The bill passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday with a vote of 81-17. 

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