Economic Development

 

Economic development efforts focused on technology transfer in addition to various tax incentive proposals and measures to address business licensure and housing needs. Senate measures introduced to encourage commercialization of technology developed by Oklahoma universities include SB 1405, SJR 25, and SJR 29 by Fisher. House measures addressing these same issues include HB 2904, HB 3211, HB 3237, and HJR 1088. The concepts of these measures were combined in the "Technology Transfer Act of 1998" (HB 2863(1) by Bonny and Robinson) and a companion resolution, HJR 1073(6) (see Higher Education for summary).

Other economic development measures include:

SB 782 (Fisher/Roach): Makes several changes to the Quality Jobs Program Act, including:

  • Exempts airlines headquartered in Oklahoma and with reservations facilities in Oklahoma from the requirement to have at least 75% of sales to out-of-state customers;

  • Requires establishments located in high-employment counties (<3.5% unemployment rate) to pay average annualized wages of at least $18,720 to qualify for quality jobs payments. Exceptions are provided for "opportunity zones", in which at least 30% of the residents have annual incomes below the federal poverty level;

  • Allows assignment of up to 25% of quality jobs payments to municipalities to pay for infrastructure improvements; and

  • Prohibits establishments receiving incentive payments from applying for additional payments for 12 quarters or until actual verified gross payroll for new direct jobs is at least $2.5 million.

SB 786 (Fisher/Deutschendorf): Expands the purpose of the Housing Trust Fund to include providing affordable housing for moderate income persons. Requires that a minimum of 65% of the funds, but not more than 75% of the funds, be used to provide affordable housing in rural counties. Requires the appointment of an advisory committee to assist in policy development for the administration of the Trust Fund. Requires the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency to develop a statewide affordable housing strategy.

SB 980 (Haney/Hamilton): SB 980 amends Oklahoma's Private Activity Bond Allocation Act by changing the portions of the state ceiling reserved for various bond pools, eliminating the allocation for two pools, and creating two housing pools. The Qualified Small Issue Pool will continue to receive 18.75% of the ceiling; however, the set aside from this Pool for small business equipment issues and the Small Business Equipment Pool have been eliminated. The Beginning Agricultural Producer Pool and the Exempt Facility Pool will receive 8% of the state ceiling, reduced from 10%. The set aside for the Food Processing Facility Pool has been eliminated. The Student Loan Pool will receive 6.25% instead of 20% of the ceiling; however, this Pool will also receive the first $30M of the ceiling that exceeds $170M. A new pool, the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency Pool, will receive 14.75% of the ceiling allocation which will be used for single and multiple family housing issues. The State Issuer Pool will receive 6% of the allocation instead of 12%. The remainder of the state ceiling allocation, 46.25%, will go to the Local Issuer Pool which has been renamed as the Local Issuer Single Family Pool and restricted to single family revenue bond and mortgage credit certificate projects. The bill also exempts from state and local taxation the interest on housing bonds that are exempt from federal taxation. In addition, agents that hold funds for a period of 5 years for payment of principal or interest on bonds must return the funds to the issuer if the bonds or coupons have not been presented for payment.

SB 1355 (Kerr/Bonny): Transfers the Inventors Assistance Program from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.

SJR 15 (Maddox/Bonny): Directs the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture to jointly conduct an inventory of and develop a strategy for export of Oklahoma products and services.

HB 1639 (Wilkerson/Turner): Creates the Industrial Facilities Development Act which will provide matching funds for small towns to use in developing facilities to attract businesses engaged in manufacturing. The funds will be used to develop the public portion of the facility.

HB 2363 (Ross/Hendrick): Creates the Community Development Capital Formation Study Act. The Community Development Capital Formation Task Force is created, to consist of three members each appointed by the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Governor. The Task Force will conduct an analysis of the needs of communities for capital investment, placing special emphasis on the role of minority business enterprise, and will evaluate the effect of alternative methods for promoting capital formation.

HB 3204 (Roach/Fisher): Modifies the Enterprise Zone Act and doubles the manufacturing investment income tax credit for entities with a capital investment of $40 million or more. The definition of "enterprise" is modified to include limited liability companies and other legally constituted business entities. Under current law, an enterprise zone must meet certain criteria relating to unemployment rates, labor surplus, population and/or household income. The new criteria include population decreases, per capital personal income levels and/or household income. Enterprises wishing to qualify for the benefits and incentives available must demonstrate that certain conditions exist, including property value increases, future potential business activity, business organization, likelihood of business success, local support and location in an enterprise zone. Applications must be reviewed by an Enterprise Zone Application Review Committee which will select annually up to 5 enterprises for each zone.

HB 3205 (Roach/Fisher): Extends the expiration date of the income tax credit for venture capital companies from 1/1/99 to 1/1/04 and requires venture capital companies to invest at least 75% (rather than 55%) of capitalization in Oklahoma business ventures for capitalization occurring on and after 1/1/99. 

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