PRYOR, Okla. — The Oklahoma House passed a rebate program bill Tuesday that leaders say could bring a Fortune 500 company to Oklahoma. The Senate passed the bill on Thursday.
Governor Kevin Stitt applauded the passage and plans to sign House Bill 4455 into law on Monday.
“I applaud my colleagues in the Legislature who voted overwhelmingly to pass the LEAD Act with bipartisan support and ensure Oklahoma is positioned to be globally competitive and secure the biggest economic development project in our state’s history. We negotiated a strong, competitive package with safeguards in place to protect taxpayers and ensure a return on this critical investment to diversify and grow Oklahoma’s economy, and I would like to thank Secretary of Commerce Scott Mueller, Speaker McCall, Pro Tem Treat, Speaker Pro Tem Hilbert, Chairman Thompson, and all our partners who worked so hard to get this done," said Stitt.
Stitt called on lawmakers Monday to pass what he called "mega legislation" by the end of the week to bring the yet unnamed company to the state. The speculation is officials are working to lure a Panasonic factory to be built at Pryor's MidAmerica Industrial Park.
David Stewart leads the MidAmerica Industrial Park. He worked closely with lawmakers as they consider House Bill 4455. It provides a rebate program that would pay for a company’s qualified capital expenditures over a five-year period. The bill is one element of the effort to bring the factory to Oklahoma.
If Oklahoma is selected, the more than $3 billion electric vehicle battery factory would be located at the the Park in Pryor.
“MidAmerican is very unique. We essentially control all of the utilities and have a cost-effective model so all of those utilities are some of the lowest in the nation," Stewart said. "Plus, we have built infrastructure that is really unparalleled by most competitive industrial parks."
In an effort to get the company here, the state and Mayes County are working to pass incentives.
On the state side, lawmakers are considering House Bill 4455. The governor is urging the legislature to pass it by the end of the week. While the bill isn’t exactly what the governor requested, his office says it still provides the needed incentive.
In Mayes County, they are trying to create a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district for the land the company is looking to purchase.
“A TIF district essentially gives a company a discount off of their ad valorem tax so in other words, they pay the ad valorem tax and they get some of it back as an incentive,” Stewart said.
He says the TIF district would add tax revenue to the county.
“The benefit to the county and the school system is in the first 12 years, $150 million,” he said.
Stewart says the TIF district goes hand in hand with the state's incentives. He also says this isn’t the only project they are working on for MidAmerica Industrial Park.
“We just announced Canoo that just moved in and they’re very community-friendly. So we feel that’s going to be a great addition and will complement the park and the community and future companies,” Stewart said.
Tulsa’s Chamber is backing HB 4455.
“The Tulsa Regional Chamber’s economic development team and its regional partners aggressively recruit companies to northeast Oklahoma through Tulsa’s Future, the Chamber-led regional economic development partnership. Incentives play a significant role in our state’s competitiveness for economic development projects. The LEAD Act would make Oklahoma more competitive with peer states, and help us attract major employers, drive industry diversification and bring significant high-paying jobs to Oklahoma.
We applaud Gov. Stitt for championing this legislation, and we strongly echo his support. The Chamber’s OneVoice Regional Legislative coalition has long supported legislation that spurs economic development across the state. This legislation would strengthen Oklahoma’s economy, support significant job creation and generate new investment moving forward. We thank the legislators who crafted a sound incentive for the state and the members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives for their strong passage of this legislation today.”
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