OK Senate Review

In the early 1990’s, Oklahoma was still recovering from the economic devastation of the oil bust.  During the worst point of the bust, businesses were closing their doors, people were losing jobs, and the need for state services far outweighed the available resources.  It was clear that the state needed to diversify its economy and develop new polices that would result in the creation of new jobs which would fuel Oklahoma’s economic recovery. 

Legislators worked to create and pass an innovative program called Quality Jobs, which used tax incentives as a way to encourage existing businesses to expand and attract new businesses to the state.  Since 1993, the program has created more than 400 thousand new jobs in Oklahoma, with an average wage of $31,739 a year.  The program was hailed as a great success and other states sought to duplicate our accomplishments with similar programs based on our model.

Now it is 2009, and I see many parallels between the economic turbulence we are experiencing today and the difficulties we faced during the years of the oil bust and subsequent recovery.  But just as we sought to creative innovative ways to enhance our economic environment nearly two decades ago, we again have the opportunity to develop programs that will create jobs and help Oklahoma become the envy of the nation. 
That is exactly why I have authored Senate Bill 938, which would create the 21st Century Quality Jobs program.  This legislation would build on the successes of the original legislation, but would take into account the changing businesses models and areas of economic development in the new century.  As our economy increasingly moves towards knowledge-based employment opportunities, our incentives programs must be in sync.  That means helping to diversify our economy by promoting growth in professional, scientific and technical services; finance and insurance; information; health care; and utilities, including alternative energy sources such as wind production. 
Not only will these jobs strengthen and diversify our economy, they are also jobs in high-salary fields, boosting individual as well as per capita income. The average salary in these fields is estimated at more than $100,000 a year.  SB 938 truly represents a bold step forward that will ultimately benefit individuals, families, and our entire state. 
Please contact me if I can be of any assistance.  At the State Senate, I can be reached by writing to Senator Mike Mazzei, Room 413, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, or by calling (405) 521-5675, or email at mazzei@oksenate.gov.