Oklahoma House Passes Bill to Help Small Businesses Grow

March 14, 2019

Legislation that would make the Small Employer Quality Jobs Program more accessible to startup companies and small businesses has passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 88 to 5.

The Small Employer Quality Jobs Program is a state business incentive for qualifying businesses with 500 employees or less that elect to locate or expand in Oklahoma. Qualifying businesses can receive cash payments of up to 5 percent of new payroll for up to seven years.

House Bill 2536, authored by Rep. Meloyde Blancett (D-Tulsa), modifies the eligibility criteria for the Small Employer Quality Jobs Program. Currently, to qualify, businesses must have 75 percent of its total sales to out of state customers or buyers. The measure lowers that requirement to 35 percent for the first two years and 60 percent thereafter.

“From an economic development standpoint, this bill diversifies our economy by making it more entrepreneur friendly,” Blancett said in a House-issued press release. “Many startups have to work to grow their out-of-state business before they qualify. By lowering these thresholds, we are allowing more businesses to enter into this program, which will create more quality jobs for Oklahomans.”

The Small Employer Quality Jobs Program, as it stands, is underdeveloped.

“The Small Employer Quality Jobs Act is a great program, but it isn’t even close to reaching its potential,” Blancett said. “Analysis shows that we are missing 99.8 percent of the potential economic benefit of this program. That number represents a broader tax base and quality jobs that Oklahoma is leaving on the table. By expanding its reach, we are making it a much more powerful economic development resource.”

This legislation now heads to the Senate.

Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives

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