The State Chamber of Oklahoma, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the Tulsa Regional Chamber stand united in support of the following legislative priorities. We recognize these policies as being key to Oklahoma's overall strength and economic vitality, and we will be lobbying in support of them in 2020.
Economic Development Programs
The Chambers support retaining and strengthening the state’s premier economic/community development programs, which are critical in attracting new businesses to the state, helping existing companies to expand and encouraging investment in communities across the state. The Chambers will work to protect and improve the following key programs:
The Chambers support the Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission (IEC), which was established to evaluate all business tax incentives at least once every four years and make recommendations to the Legislature and Governor to ensure the accountability and effectiveness of Oklahoma’s tax incentives. These evaluations will show whether tax incentives were successful, cost-efficient and how they can be improved to achieve the expected outcomes that benefit our communities and Oklahoma’s economy.
The Chambers support an Oklahoma Angel Investor Tax Credit modeled after neighboring states in our region that are designed to boost capital investment in startups. Early stage startups struggle with the process of raising capital, which often deters sustainability and success. Incentivizing investments by angel investors will help to provide entrepreneurs and the startup community with the needed capital to flourish, create jobs and boost the economy.
Workers’ Comp Reform
The Chambers support defending and improving the comprehensive workers’ compensation reform legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor during the 2013 session:
The Chambers support the following legal reforms:
The Chambers are fully supportive of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the responsible expansion of gun-owners’ rights in Oklahoma. However, the Chambers will oppose legislation that would allow open/concealed carry of guns into high-economic impact events (many of which are contractually required to prohibit weapons), including Horse Shows, the Oklahoma and Tulsa State Fairs, Olympic Qualifying on the Oklahoma River, High School Basketball and Wrestling Tournaments at the State Fairgrounds and NCAA and Big XII sporting events (including the Women’s College World Series).
The Chambers will also oppose legislation that would allow guns to be carried on college campuses or limit a business owner’s rights to prohibit weapons.
The Chambers support the efforts of the “Oklahomans for Business and Property Owners’ Rights” coalition to defend against harmful gun legislation.
Criminal Justice Reform
The Chambers support legislation and funding for reforms and rehabilitation programs to ease the financial drain on Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, lessen the burden on jails and prisons throughout the state and allow non-violent offenders to re-enter the workforce more quickly, while balancing public safety needs.
The Chambers support protecting the pension reforms which have improved the long-term fiscal condition of the state.
Oil & Gas Tax
The Chambers support a stable oil and gas tax structure which promotes the investment of drilling capital in Oklahoma.
The Chambers support continued funding for OCAST and i2E programs, including the Seed Capital Fund.
Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET)
The Chambers support the constitutional provisions of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) to support the public health of Oklahomans.
Extending Health Insurance Coverage to More Oklahomans
The Chambers support extending health insurance coverage to more Oklahoma residents, through pursuit of all available funds, to cover the costs of uncompensated care that are currently shifted to employers and health care providers.
Broadening Insure Oklahoma
The Chambers further support broadening Insure Oklahoma to provide health insurance coverage to more of the state’s uninsured.
Medical Education Funding
The Chambers support maintaining physician training funding for the state’s two largest medical schools in the base budgets of the University Hospitals Authority and Oklahoma State University Medical Authority.
Physician Shortage/Rural Access
The Chambers support the following initiatives to address health care disparities: 1) incentivizing the recruitment and retention of primary care physicians, specialty physicians and allied health professionals in rural and underserved and other areas; and 2) expanding residency programs for the state’s medical schools. The Chambers support efforts to identify new funding streams dedicated to these initiatives.
The Chambers also support the appropriate expansion of technology platforms (such as telemedicine and telehealth) and data platforms to enhance access to health care for underserved Oklahomans.
ODOT Eight-Year Plan
The Chambers support providing adequate annual dedicated funding necessary to preserve and implement the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) eight-year construction work plan. Furthermore, the Chambers will strongly oppose any effort to divert dedicated transportation funding to other areas of government.
State Bridge Improvement Plan
The Chambers support providing adequate annual dedicated funding to implement ODOT’s Bridge Improvement Plan to repair or replace all of Oklahoma’s structurally deficient bridges on the state’s highway system by 2020 and further ensure that ODOT is able to maintain a nationally leading bridge improvement program.
State Turnpike Plan
The Chambers support the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s “Driving Forward” Turnpike Program.
Federal Highway Trust Fund
The Chambers will work with the Oklahoma Congressional delegation and ODOT to secure a permanent funding solution for the Federal Highway Trust Fund (including mass transit programs).
The Chambers support adequate funding levels to properly maintain the national transportation system.
Infrastructure Investment Package
The Chambers support a comprehensive federal infrastructure package. Building on the flexibility of previous multi-year transportation reauthorizations for a coordinated federal/state/local-based decision-making process, a robust investment package will enable the state to achieve much-needed progress in addressing critical infrastructure needs.
Long-Term Strategic Education Planning
The Chambers support the development of a multi-year strategic plan that addresses the public education needs of tomorrow and emphasizes the skills needed to compete for college and career in a modern economy.
The Chambers support addressing the teacher shortage through heightened recruitment efforts, rewards for teacher performance and experience and incentives for teachers to work in high-priority areas.
The Chambers support fully funding access for seniors in support of current law and expanding access to concurrent enrollment for high school juniors as funding is available.
Oklahoma’s Promise is one of the most successful college access programs in the nation. The Chambers oppose legislation that would diminish the program’s focus on college access. We support efforts to increase the number of college graduates and to maintain the direct allocation of state funds, which ensures full funding of the scholarships earned by Oklahoma students.
Career Readiness and Certification
Oklahoma needs more of its workforce to have the opportunity to earn post-secondary education, including certifications, degrees and other training targeted toward in-demand skills and industry needs. The Chambers support:
For questions or more information, contact Mike Jackson, Executive Vice President of Government & Political Affairs.