Poll shows Oklahomans do not support State Question 744
The Tulsa World reported yesterday that of 352 likely voters, the majority were against State Question 744 that would drastically increase public school funding to the detriment of most other state services.
The SoonerPoll.com survey taken Oct. 3-7 found just 27 percent in favor of SQ 744, while 58 percent were against and 15 percent didn’t know or refused to answer the question. This is a dramatic change from a mid-July poll when nearly two-thirds said they planned to vote for the measure.
“These numbers show that our efforts to educate Oklahomans on the vastly negative impact this question will have on our state’s budget is working,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “The Chamber is, and has always been, a huge supporter of education and that hasn’t changed. State Question 744 is not the answer to education funding. We have to look at where the money will come from and how it will be used, and 744 just does not provide solid answers to those questions.”
Proponents of SQ 744 have cited eliminating tax incentives and exemptions as a way to fund the $1 billion it will cost the state. However, the tax exemptions they want to do away with include income tax exemption on social security and government retirement benefits; sales tax exemption on utility bills; and homestead property tax exemption. Incentives include job creating incentives that allow Oklahoma to attract and build business in the state creating a stronger economy like Boeing’s expansion with 500+ new jobs, the Dorada Foods plant location with 300+ new jobs and the incentives that have enabled employers like American Airlines, Spirit Aerosystems, Navistar, and others to stay and expand in northeast Oklahoma.
“The simple fact is someone will have to pay for SQ 744,” said Neal. “And it will be Oklahomans –either through increased taxes or cuts to vital government services.”
Click here for the entire Tulsa World article.
Locals tour downtown Tulsa
The Tulsa Metro Chamber’s convention and visitors program, VisitTulsa, hosted 16 individuals in downtown Tulsa today to tour the event facilities, accommodations and new venues in hopes of attracting more meetings and conventions to town.
The Bring It Home Familiarization Tour is the first of its kind to host locals on a tour of the city. VisitTulsa holds a “fam” tour annually, but invitations are typically reserved for out-of-area guests. However, with the expansive transformation downtown Tulsa has recently undergone, program leaders felt it was time to show locals what Tulsa has to offer.
“Nearly $1 billion has been invested in downtown over the past couple years and many residents may not realize how much space and activity is really available downtown,” said VisitTulsa Vice President Amy Huntley. “We were excited to bring in locals who may not have considered Tulsa recently as a destination for their national meetings and events to show them what’s really here.”
Fam tour participants were treated to an opening reception and tickets to last night’s Carrie Underwood concert with accommodations provided by downtown hotels. Today’s schedule included breakfast at the Ambassador Hotel; a historical driving tour of downtown Tulsa; back-of-the-house tour of ONEOK Field; and tours of the Mayo Hotel, Courtyard by Marriot, Holiday Inn City Center and Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT officials provide transportation update
By D. Ray Tuttle
The Journal Record
Oklahoma has replaced or rehabilitated 531 bridges in the last five years – more than in any 10-year period in state history, said Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley.
Ridley and senior officials from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s top management team provided a comprehensive transportation update at the Tulsa Metro Chamber on Tuesday.
“Orange barrels are a sign of progress,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “There are pros and cons with construction. The ‘con’ is the inconvenience, but the ‘pro’ is that it will eventually get done and it will be fantastic when it is done.”
ODOT has targeted another 650 bridges for replacement or rehabilitation, Ridley said.
“That is a huge step in the right direction,” Ridley said.
Over the next eight years, from 2011 through 2018, the state Transportation Department plans to complete 1,757 projects, at a cost of $4.2 billion. Oklahoma will pay for 40 percent of the cost, or $1.68 billion. The federal government will pick up the tab on the remaining $2.53 billion, or 60 percent, Ridley said.
Beside the 650 bridge rehabilitations and replacements, ODOT will add shoulders to 485 miles of rural two-lane highways without shoulders. Also, the state will install 80 miles of positive median barriers.
There are another 350 bridges that the state has identified as being too narrow, but are not on the current construction plan, Ridley said.
Another problem the state faces is again bridges, Ridley said.
“There are 451 bridges that are more than 80 years old,” Ridley said. “That means they were designed and built before 1931. Henry Ford quit building the Model A in 1932.”
If not corrected, the number of 80-year-old bridges in Oklahoma will total 1,297 by 2018, statistics show.
Besides bridges, the state has installed 402 miles of median cable barriers since 2001, Ridley said.
The barriers, which run down the center median, have reduced the number of head-on collisions by 80 percent this year. The state averages about 35 fatalities as the result of a head-on collision when vehicles cross the center median. Through September of this year, the state has had just six fatalities from that type of collision, Ridley said.
“Reducing the number of fatalities by 25 or 30 a year means that in 10 years there would be 250 or 300 people still alive,” Ridley said. “That is large graduating class in a lot of high schools.”
Ridley said any diversion or reduction in funding now could have a domino effect on delaying or halting projects in the new eight-year plan.
“This would ripple across all areas of the state, including your area,” Ridley said.
Let’s Do Business encourages companies to buy regional
Your business purchases could help bolster the local economy. How? Consider buying from a company in the Tulsa region whenever possible. Regional business purchases increase the tax base, help create jobs and in turn generate even more opportunities in the Tulsa region.
The Chamber’s new Let’s Do Business website, www.LetsDoBusinessTulsa.com, makes it simple to find new suppliers and vendors. The site’s advanced search engine allows users to sort through more than 1,000 participants quickly and easily. Additionally, the RFP process provides the opportunity to vet potential vendor offers without having to divulge a company’s identity.
From office supplies to banking, telecom to website design, LetsDoBusinessTulsa.com can help you locate a company in the Tulsa region that offers the quality product or service you need.
For information about participating in the Let’s Do Business program, visit the website or contact Warren Unsicker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918.560.0235.
Partners In Education program continues to grow
The Chamber’s Partners In Education program has added several partner companies and organizations since the beginning of the school year. Most recently, Midtown Rotary Club partnered with Wright Elementary School. Through the partnership, the rotary club provided more than 160 uniforms for the school uniform closet and will give a dictionary to every fourth and fifth grade student.
Thank you to Midtown Rotary Club and the following new Partners In Education: Active Approach Chiropractic; Adventures In Pools; Amazing Athletes of Oklahoma; Caz’s Chowhouse; Cici’s Pizza; Cornerstone Family Church; Crossroads Fresh Connection, Inc.; Eagles Without Borders (ORU Athletics); Green Country Health Care Association; Jackie Cooper Imports; Jimmy Lee’s Total Fitness; Kirk of the Hills; Metro Christian Academy; Sonic; Tulsa County News; Tulsa Geoscience Center; and Upper Cervical Health Centers of America.
For more information about Partners In Education or to become a partner, contact Heather Johnson at email@example.com or 918.560.0218.
Facebook could take geolocation mainstream
Facebook recently announced that it launched a new geolocation check-in service called Facebook Places. While competitors like Foursquare, Gowalla and MyTown have been trying to make inroads with this new concept, Facebook may have just changed the whole game.
If you aren’t familiar with geolocation social networks, here is how, for example, Foursquare works: Using smartphones, consumers “check in” to a business when they arrive. Consumers can see if any of their connected friends are at the same location or nearby, share and discover insider tips about the location and earn points. These points are used to earn badges, with the top point-achiever being crowned “Mayor.”
This creates an active, competitive community around the business — driving foot traffic. Businesses often encourage this activity by offering discounts and freebies to Foursquare players.
Unlike Foursquare, Facebook Places isn’t based on a competitive game, and many consider this to be a shortcoming. However, while Foursquare has nearly 3 million members, Facebook already has over 500 million potential users for this service — quite an advantage if it can make its service compelling.
Businesses that aren’t participating should at least make sure they don’t already have a presence, created by customers, on these sites. If you’re listed, look for a link to “claim” your venue.
Sources: Website Magazine, Los Angeles Times
What we’re working on Executive
• Participating in the Intercity Visit to Louisville.
• Attending the Mayor’s Business Retention Breakfast.
• Making calls to CEOs for Tulsa’s Future II.
• Attending Business After Hours.
• OU-Tulsa telecommunications meeting.
• Meeting with Kerry Joels, Cain’s Ballroom Museum, regarding the Oklahoma Pop Museum project.
• Staff will be attending the Umicore ribbon-cutting at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.
• Hosting a logistics expert for a Tulsa site tour.
• Participating in the Intercity Visit to Louisville.
• Attending the Governors Economic Development Marketing Team meeting in OKC.
• Staff will be submitting an RFP for a manufacturing project.
• Hosting a site visit.
• Meeting with Small Business Council Chair to finalize the agenda for annual retreat.
• BRE visits will be conducted with manufacturers to help them with expansion plans.
• Staff will be meeting with airport officials to talk about future projects.
• Attending the Aerospace Partners Strategic Planning Committee at ODOC in OKC.
• Attending the Tulsa Airport Authority’s monthly meeting.
• Participating in ODOC conference call with partners attending the NBAA Meeting and Convention in Atlanta the week of Oct. 18.
• Finishing up September updates to website and collateral materials.
Education and Workforce
• Hosting a health care forum with Jake Henry Oct. 14.
• Planning an education forum against SQ744 for Oct. 19.
• Planning the Employer Workforce Outlook event for late October.
• Attending the Mayor’s Mentoring Roundtable lunch to discuss mentoring projects throughout Tulsa.
• Training volunteers for CACR (College Access Career Readiness).
• Attending the Education Trust National Conference.
• Working on a presentation about Talent Dividend/CACR for OUCEC’s Southwest Regional. Conference.
• Working on the new edition of the Education Guide publication.
• Spearheading Tulsa area fundraising efforts opposing SQ 744.
• Fundraising for the OklahomaBizPac and TulsaBizPac.
• Securing endorsements for the 2011 OneVoice agenda.
• Monitoring legislative interim studies.
• Attending InterCity Visit.
• Coordinating 2011 joint legislative events with Oklahoma City Chamber.
• Hosting local association executives and meeting planners on a tour of downtown Tulsa as part of the Bring It Home Familiarization Tour.
Marketing and Communications
• Completing a number of e-newsletters and website updates.
• Working with a brand/creative agency to create a marketing plan for 2011 economic development efforts.
• Making design updates to The Forge website.
• Writing search engine advertisements for ChooseTulsaJobs.com.
• Updating the SourceLink Tulsa brochure to include information about the SourceLink Business Center.
Chamber welcomes new businessesEach month the Tulsa Metro Chamber's Hospitality Club welcomes new businesses and new Chamber members to the community by assisting with ribbon cuttings and groundbreaking announcements.
Welcome new members:
2 C Construction
Ahmady's Persian Rugs, Inc.
College Funding Solutions, LLC
Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa, LLC
J. Hale & Associates, LLC
Luxa Enterprises, LLC
Next Level Executive Coaching, LLC
Reader's High Press
Summit Investment Group, LLC
Team Oil Tools
TGI Enterprises, Inc.
The Winchester Group
Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa LLC
Lori Dreiling, Owner
418 E. 2nd Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
Wal-Mart Super Center
Joel Berry, Store Manager
207 S. Memorial
Tulsa, OK 74112
Volunteer of the Month
Marvin Krueger, Melaleuca, Inc.
Darin Adams, Arvest Bank
Amy Adkins, Mrs. DeHaven’s Flower Shop
Jim Boese, Boese Group – Allstate Agency
Mattheu Brasel, AVB Bank
Mary Bransford, Value News, Inc.
Darla Davis, ServPro of South Tulsa County
Orlando Dumalag, callOrlando.com, LLC
Christina Edwards, Paychex, Inc.
Ami Greene, EasyTEL Communications, Inc.
Vicki Hidde, Resume Source, Inc.
Deb Karstens, Home Creations
Joy Kelly, SpiritBank
Corey King, Premier Advisors Group
Joey Minick, NotionBox Creative, LLC
Carl Novara, Farmers Insurance*Novara Insurance Agency
Jill Pratt, MainSpring, LLC
Travis Ring, Eastern Oklahoma Chiropractic, PLLC
Amy Williams, Tulsa World
Bob Wilson, 5R, Inc.