State Rep. Mike Reynolds said Tuesday he is disgusted that the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program would give millions of taxpayer dollars to a company to create jobs when they are reducing their workforce.
The decision by Spirit AeroSystems to lay off 360 support and management employees is an appropriate move for a corporation to remain profitable, but it highlights the inexcusable giveaway of taxpayer money by an out-of-control legislature, according to Reynolds.
The aircraft parts manufacturer received two payments through the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program on June 17, 2013, for more than $2.5 million. They also received more than $3.4 million in 2012 and other payments annually beginning in 2007. The company employs 2,500 Oklahomans in Tulsa, but has not provided a number on how many have been laid off at the Tulsa facility. To add insult to injury Spirit AeroSystems also receives local incentives through Tulsa County, according to the Tulsa County Clerk’s Office
“Oklahoma provides private companies with tax incentives because a few powerful legislators bring bills to the floor during the last days of the legislative session,” said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. “The episode with Spirit AeroSystems is a perfect example of how abused the program is. Taxpayers should be outraged that the legislature will give away their hard-earned dollars in a failed scheme to promote jobs in Oklahoma. I support the goal of attracting jobs to Oklahoma. The only way to do that is get government out of the way, bring to an end these unconstitutional gifts to corporations, and lower the taxes on all individuals and businesses instead of picking winners and losers.”
According to the Oklahoma Commerce Department, the company is still providing a net benefit for the state, but Reynolds questioned the information.
“What else is the Department of Commerce going to say?” asked Reynolds. “If it wasn’t for these corporate giveaways the agency wouldn’t exist, saving the taxpayers even more. It is time for state leaders to quit talking about tax credit reform and do it!
“It is disappointing that members sing the praises of the Quality Jobs Program while they consistently oppose efforts to pass laws that would give valid statistical data on this and other outrageous tax incentive programs.”