The 2014 legislative session ended with an overall good grade but with areas of concern, according to State Chamber of Oklahoma President and CEO Fred Morgan.
“Any session with significant pension reform, a permanent gross production tax rate that encourages capital investment in drilling and the continuation of proven incentives that create jobs is a good one,” said Morgan. “Lawmakers generally stayed very focused on jobs and the economy.”
Morgan gave the session an overall grade of a solid “B.” He praised them for passing bills to extend proven incentives such as a tax credit for aerospace engineers and expanding the Small Business Quality Jobs program so that companies anywhere in the state can apply.
“This session, the legislature and governor recognized the need to continue to offer incentives that attract new businesses and encourage existing companies to expand,” said Morgan. “Several measures passed in this session will enhance capital investment and job creation that keeps Oklahoma competitive in a global economy.”
But there is disappointment about lawmakers not addressing much needed judicial reform or ensuring a first class education system.
“Rigorous standards are a key to making sure students are ready for college or a career when they graduate high school,” said Morgan. “An educated, skilled workforce is needed in Oklahoma to keep the economy moving forward and ensure Oklahoma’s young people have a bright future.”
Bills on the State Chamber’s Legislative Agenda that passed include:
HB 1416: Allows Quality Jobs reimbursements from military installation expansion to stay in Oklahoma
HB 2100: compromise pharmacy benefits manager bill that provides savings to patients while still letting them access local pharmacists
HB 2509: extends an employer and employee tax credit for aerospace engineers
HB 2562: creates a permanent gross production tax rate of 2% for the first three years of a well followed by 7% thereafter
HB 2630: creates defined contribution pension system for future state workers
HB 2956: expands the Small Business Quality Jobs program to all counties in the state