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State Chamber responds to March state revenue report

Oklahoma City (April 15, 2014) – State Chamber President and CEO Fred Morgan made the following statement after the latest revenue report released by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services:

“We respectfully disagree with some of the analysis in the most recent revenue report which seems to blame the business community for collections falling short of estimates. Gross production tax revenue is certainly not at fault since the collections so far this year are actually $11-million or nearly six percent higher than the estimate. And we don’t believe attacking successful, proven tax credits is the proper message to be sending to job creators trying to move the state’s economy forward. The state has collected more money so far this year than at this point last year. So rather than making job creators the scapegoat, perhaps the solution should be found on the spending choices being made.”

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House Bill 2956 brings important program statewide

Oklahoma City (April 15, 2014) – State Chamber Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Gwendolyn Caldwell made the following statement after the State Senate unanimously passed HB 2956 which eliminates the county population requirement for a small business to qualify for the Small Employer Quality Jobs program:
 
“At the State Chamber, three-quarters of our members are small businesses, so we know how important they are to the state’s economy. Expanding the Small Employer Quality Jobs program, which has already been proven successful, to the whole state will make it more likely for small businesses to start up and expand. I’d like to thank Senator Ron Sharp and Representative Josh Cockroft for their work in getting this bill through the process.”
 
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Fred Morgan, President and CEO photoEvery two years, hundreds of people show up at the state Capitol to take the ultimate step in democracy: filing to run for elective office.

As someone who has taken that step many times myself, I can tell you it is a challenging, humbling and inspiring process. Each candidate thinks he or she is the best person for the job.

It is up to us, as business-minded voters, to determine which candidate is best-suited for each position. We need to be informed, ask questions and then choose the person who will work to make Oklahoma the best state in the country for business. Do they support policies that will allow businesses to thrive and add more jobs? Where does the candidate stand on rigorous education standards? How would they vote on pension reforms?

The Oklahoma Prosperity Project is a tool the State Chamber uses to let employers and employees know where candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire given to everyone seeking office on the state level. We feel that this is the best way of knowing which candidates have the interests of employers and employees in mind.

But once the candidates answer the questions, it is still up to us to take action. The business community needs to be engaged in the process. Polling shows the number one priority for Oklahomans is jobs and the economy.

Program already proven successful to continue for three more years

Oklahoma City (April 11, 2014) – The State Chamber would like to thank Governor Mary Fallin for signing House Bill 2509 into law, extending an important incentive program for the aerospace industry. The tax credit for aerospace engineers and the companies that employ them has already affected more than 500 jobs in the state.

“We agree with Governor Fallin that the aerospace industry is one of the five key ecosystems that will propel the state’s economy in the future,” said State Chamber President and CEO Fred Morgan. “This program will help companies facing the problem of a generation of engineers readying for retirement and allow a key industry in the state to expand.”

Since the original tax credit was passed, more than 500 aerospace engineering jobs with a payroll of over $70-million have been created or retained in the state. Because the incentive is dependent upon the jobs being created or retained, House Bill 2509 received bipartisan support throughout the process. The State Chamber also commends Senator Mike Mazzei and Representative Earl Sears for their hard work authoring and shepherding the bill through the process.

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Bill result of cooperation between pharmacy benefit managers and local pharmacies
 
Oklahoma City (April 3, 2014) – State Chamber Vice President of Policy Development and Government Affairs Jonathan Buxton made the following comment after the Senate passed House Bill 2100 today: 
 
“This bill will ensure patients have access to local pharmacies while also seeing the enhanced cost savings that pharmacy benefit managers provide. The Oklahoma Pharmacy Association and the pharmacy benefit managers that came to the negotiating table should be commended for working together to develop this compromise language. As we have said, Oklahoma business works best when it works together.” 
 
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