OK Senate approves upgrade for jobs program

Legislation using targeted incentives to attract top-paying jobs to Oklahoma has won approval in the State Senate.  Senator Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, is the author of Senate Bill 938 which creates the “21st Century Quality Jobs” program.  The measure was approved unanimously on Tuesday.

The original Quality Jobs program approved in 1993 has created more than 400,000 new jobs in Oklahoma with an average wage of more than $31,000 a year.  Mazzei said that program will remain unchanged, explaining that the 21st Century Quality Jobs program targets knowledge-based employment opportunities.

“21st Century Quality Jobs focuses on areas such as scientific and technical services, finance and insurance, as well as health care and alternative energy,” Mazzei said.  “These are jobs that have an average salary of more than $100,000 a year.  This would not only increase per capita income in our state, but it would also diversify Oklahoma’s economy.”
Under Mazzei’s legislation, companies creating the jobs specified in SB 938 would be eligible to receive a quarterly cash rebate of up to 10 percent of new taxable payroll if they achieve wage and performance job creation targets.  According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the incentive program would be revenue neutral.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.