April 23, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY — Since its inception in 1993, the Quality Jobs Program has issued more than 647 contracts to locating, expanding and start-up businesses and brought thousands of jobs to Oklahoma. The program recently exceeded fiscal year 2011’s total of 34 companies enrolled. Other benchmarks for the program include:
“The Quality Jobs Program continues to perform well and create jobs,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Dave Lopez. “The numbers prove once again why the Quality Jobs Program is the premier economic incentive program in Oklahoma and why other states have rushed to copy the program.”
During the past three years, manufacturing has accounted for more than half of the jobs created through the program. In fiscal year 2012, manufacturing continues that trend with expanding manufacturers accounting for more than 60 percent of participating companies.
The Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program allows qualifying establishments creating new quality jobs to receive an incentive to expand or locate in Oklahoma. Administered by Oklahoma Commerce, the program provides quarterly cash payments of up to 5 percent of new taxable payroll directly to a qualifying company for up to 10 years.
To qualify, a company must be a central administrative office, manufacturer, research and development, or a listed service company with 75 percent of total sales to out-of-state customers. Most companies must achieve a $2.5 million taxable payroll for any four consecutive quarters during the first 12 quarters in the program. Once the company achieves the threshold, it may remain in the program and receive incentive payments for the rest of the 10-year period as long as it continues to maintain the $2.5 million payroll and meet the average wage requirements. All businesses must offer basic health insurance coverage to all employees, and 80 percent of employees must work at least 30 hours per week.
The amount of each company's incentive is determined through a cost-benefit analysis prepared by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Costs to the state resulting from in-migration/other grants may decrease the amount of benefit the state receives from a company, thus lowering the incentive payment. Payments cannot exceed 5 percent of payroll and have historically averaged about 4.5 percent.
Companies that receive incentive payments also may be eligible for the five-year ad valorem tax exemption (manufacturing), free industry training program, foreign trade zone and freeport benefits, and other technical/financial assistance programs. Firms cannot utilize the new jobs investment tax credit, sales tax rebates for construction, and a variety of additional tax credits and exemptions. For more information on business retention and expansion activities in Oklahoma, visit www.OKcommerce.gov/bre.