In December 2007, a portion of the general obligation bond approved by Oklahoma City voters was dedicated to establishing the Strategic Investment Program, a job-creation incentive program used to help recruit jobs and employers.
Job creation incentives are used in every state and many municipalities in order to compete with other cites, states and foreign countries. Incentives like these are used as economic development tools to help level the playing field. If incentives were not available, we would rarely win new site location decisions.
SIP has the advantage of flexibility in structure to address challenges related to individual employer recruitment, while also being transparent. All requests go before the city’s Economic Development Trust and City Council for approval. Money is allocated on a pay-for-performance basis – no funds are released until companies prove they have fulfilled job creation requirements.
In order to qualify, companies must be located in Oklahoma City and create at least 50 full-time jobs with a new total payroll of at least $1.75 million. Average wages for the jobs must meet or exceed the average wage of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which was $42,421 in 2012.
Employers must also pay at least half the cost of employee health care benefits. Funds are available only for companies retaining or creating primary jobs in areas like manufacturing, distribution and warehousing and business services. Retail businesses will not qualify for funding under applicable guidelines.
Read the full article here in the July 6th edition of The Journal Record.