SQ 744 will lead to cuts in state services or substantial tax increases
According to testimony at an official state legislative interim study, if State Question 744 passes cuts to state services would result in 8,400 criminals released, at least eight prisons closed and the loss of millions of dollars in federal health care matching funds. And it will hurt education as well.
As University of Oklahoma President David Boren and Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis, jointly stated "Without new revenue sources, SQ 744 would cause destructive cuts in other vital state services, like higher education, vocational-technical education, highways, law enforcement and medical services."
With an annual price tag of more than a billion dollars, the cost of SQ 744, if paid by taxes, would cost a family of four $1,200 a year. Proponents have suggested this be raised by eliminating existing tax exemptions such as the exemption on retirement income, sales tax exemptions on medication, and even losing the homestead property tax exemption.
To read more about the dire effects SQ 744 could have on higher education, click here.
Tulsa Metro Chamber announces position on state questions, city charter change
The Tulsa Metro Chamber announced today its position on five state questions, in addition to its previously announced opposition to State Question 744, and one proposed city charter change as voted on by the Tulsa Metro Chamber Board of Directors.
“As the primary organization serving the Tulsa regional business community, the Chamber has a vested interest in the public policies shaping this community as well as the state and nation,” said Don Walker, chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber and president of Arvest Bank. “We aim to take a proactive approach in advocating for policies, issues and amendments affecting the business community and our citizens.”
The Chamber previously announced its opposition to SQ 744 and has been an active partner with the One Oklahoma Coalition to defeat the measure that would raise the per pupil spending for common education to the regional average and projected to cost the state at least $1 billion the first year.
“State Question 744 provides no accountability measures or guarantees that any of the funds must be spent in the classroom or for teacher pay,” said Mike Neal, Tulsa Metro Chamber president and CEO. “Additionally, it will cost the state at least $1 billion, which will come from every other state service critical to the health and well-being of our children.”
State Question 750 proposes to lower the number of qualified signatures needed to add a state question to the ballot. The Tulsa Metro Chamber opposes SQ 750 because it circumvents the key decision making role and the opportunity to compromise out of the hands of the elected officials.
The board also elected to oppose SQ 751 to require that English be Oklahoma’s common, unifying state language. The board voted to oppose the measure because of the exclusivity and alienation it creates during a time when community development, economic development and tourism are all important driving factors needed for the city of Tulsa’s growth.
The Chamber supports SQ 752 to change the makeup of the Judicial Nomination Commission from 13 members to 15 members requiring that the two additional members not be lawyers, not have lawyers in their immediate family, and not be from the same political party as selected at-large by the senate president pro-tempore and the speaker of the House. The Chamber feels by limiting the number of attorneys on the commission it could help establish a more business-friendly court specifically on issues such as workers’ compensation.
SQ 754 to restrict how the state Legislature designates expenditures is also opposed by the Chamber. The measure would forbid the Legislature from funding state functions based upon predetermined constitutional formulas, how much other states spend on them or how much any other entity spends on them. Passage of SQ 754 could possibly remove all spending formulas that have been in place for years including state aid for schools (HB1017), transportation funding and the allocation of motor vehicle tax to counties. It is vague about whether the prohibited formulas would be limited to constitutional formulas or could be statutory formulas. Also, this measure could not be repealed or amended even if a later constitutional amendment were adopted. Based on these reasons, the board of directors voted to oppose SQ 754.
The Chamber does support SQ 757 to increase the amount of money that can be put into the state Rainy Day Fund from 10 percent to 15 percent of the General Fund revenue. The Chamber feels this minor increase will have a positive impact on the state’s budget when economic down times are experienced as occurred recently.
The Chamber Board of Directors also voted to support the proposed city charter change to create a city Rainy Day Fund to help stabilize revenues and expenditures from year to year. In years where the general fund growth is projected to exceed 4 percent, half of the excess revenues will go into the reserve fund. In years in which the general fund declines, the city can draw from the reserve to help maintain levels of service.
Similar to the state’s Rainy Day Fund, the Chamber feels this is good fiscal planning and will help stabilize the budget.
A taskforce was created to review all 11 state questions and the city charter change with the responsibility of making a recommendation to the Tulsa Metro Chamber Board of Directors regarding whether to support, oppose or take no position on the issue based on the effect it could have on the state and city’s business climate. The positions outlined today are a result of those recommendations.
The Chamber will host the second and final Gubernatorial Debate between U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010. There are no public seats left, but the debate will be aired live on Cox Channels 3 and 703 beginning at 7 p.m.
Number of Tulsa’s direct flights increases
Tulsa International Airport has increased its number of direct flights with a new, nonstop service between Tulsa and Washington, D.C., beginning April 3, 2011. Non-stop service will now be offered to 17 cities with an average of 63 departures per day. The increase assists VisitTulsa, the Chamber’s convention and visitors program, in selling Tulsa and is a boon to the Chamber’s economic development division’s business recruitment efforts.
“Tulsa offers companies numerous reasons to relocate or grow a business, and its central location is integral to attracting businesses to the region,” said Jim Fram, the Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development. “Direct flights provide companies and their clients a convenient, affordable opportunity for business travel.”
According to Fram, it is common practice for companies considering relocating to evaluate a city on its number of direct flights. Tulsa now offers direct flights to the following major markets: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.
The Washington, D.C., flight will operate daily via United Airlines. Other airlines offering direct flights across the country from Tulsa include American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and Continental.
In addition to quick business travel, direct flights to major markets also make connecting flights simpler and less expensive when traveling abroad.
RIED report evaluates local legislator voting records
The Research Institute for Economic Development evaluates business, industry and economic growth issues considered by the Oklahoma legislature and scores legislators creating a profile of their individual voting record pertaining to those issues.
In an effort to keep members well-informed and versed on local and statewide elected officials' agendas and voting records, the Chamber is making available the most recent RIED report.
Each legislator was graded with respect to his or her position on each of the bills related to legislation introduced during the session regarding the issues listed below:
o Workforce Development
o Tort Reform
o Job Growth
o Small Business
o Insurance & Health Care
o Rural Economic Growth
o Military Impacts
o Worker Compensation
o Unemployment Compensation/ All other Business & Economic Growth Issues
Top RIED scores from the state House, Tulsa area, include:
|Rep. Dan Kirby
|Rep. Weldon Watson
|Rep. Daniel Sullivan
|Rep. Ron Peters
|Rep. Chris Benge
|Rep. Mark McCullough
|Rep. Earl Sears
|Rep. Skye McNeil
Top RIED scores from the state Senate, Tulsa area, include:
|Sen. Brian Bingman
|Sen. Gary Stanislawsky
|Sen. Brian Crain
|Sen. John Ford
View the entire RIED report online here.
OSBDC business development specialist honored
Bill Mount, business development specialist for the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center (OSBDC), was named Oklahoma’s 2010 State Star by the Association of Small Business Development Centers at the organization’s annual conference held recently in San Antonio. Each year, the national association recognizes small business development center leaders who are exemplary performers, who make significant contributions to their state or regional programs and who commit their time and talents to small business.
During Mount’s time with the OSBDC, he has developed a comprehensive financial projection model, which is now being used statewide. Mount is located at the OSBDC sponsored by Northeastern State University and housed in the Tulsa Metro Chamber office, where he provides one-on-one counseling for entrepreneurs, start-ups and expanding businesses in developing business plans, applying for SBA loan programs and related information.
QuikTrip issues United Way giving challenge for area small businesses
The Tulsa Area United Way announced last week a new challenge from QuikTrip for its 2010 campaign. QuikTrip will match donations from small businesses (defined as 50 or fewer employees) dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000. The “$100,000 QuikTrip Small Business Challenge” is the first of its kind and encourages area small businesses to give knowing their contributions, no matter the size, will be doubled to benefit TAUW’s 61 partner agencies.
Small businesses and other individuals and organizations may participate through Nov. 11, when the 2010 TAUW campaign wraps up with the United! event. For more information about the challenge and the campaign, visit the TAUW website at www.tauw.org.
Health Care Forum: Health information network
Tulsa Metro Chamber will host a Health Care Forum featuring Dr. David Kendrick, OU-Tulsa, who will explain the federal grant received by a Tulsa consortium of partners to establish a local health information network. Join us to learn how Tulsa will be one of the first communities in the U.S. to establish a community network among providers and how it will impact both employers and employees. The network is a requirement for future Medicare reimbursements to physicians and hospitals and helps reduce the cost of health care insurance in the private insurance market.
The Health Care Forum is scheduled for 8-9:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 4 at the Tulsa Metro Chamber, 2 W. Second St., in the second floor conference room. There is no cost to attend. RSVP to Sharon Goswick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918.560.0276.
What we’re working on:Executive:
• Attending the Leadership Retreat and Board Meeting.
• Emceeing the ODOT news conference.
• Making Tulsa’s Future II CEO calls.
• Attending the Employer Workforce Outlook.
• Attending the dedication of John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park.
• Meeting with County Commissioners.
• Attending the VisitTulsa Executive Committee meeting.
• Hosting a small group board luncheon.
• Hosting the Gubernatorial Debate.
• Attending the Small Business Council retreat.
• Welcoming, supporting and helping the Arabian Horse Association while they’re in town for the U.S. Nationals.
• Attending the Chamber annual leadership retreat.
• Attending the Tulsa Hotel and Lodging Association and Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association meetings.
• Hosting the VisitTulsa executive meeting.
• Traveling to Ft. Worth to promote Tulsa to the Appaloosa Horse Club for their 2011 National Show at Expo Square.
• Hosting the Circle of Sisters for a site visit.
• Attending the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice dinner.
• Attending John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park dedication.
• Setting up sale calls in Oklahoma City.
• Attending OUR Oklahoma.
Tulsa Sports Commission:
• Working with the American Bicycle Association to prepare for the BMX Grand Nationals Tulsa.
• Meeting with the NCAA Entertainment Committee to prepare for hosting thousands of visitors at the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships, Rounds 2 and 3, at the BOK Center.
• Acquainting new executive director to Tulsa and community leaders, sports partners and implementing his strategic plan to grow sports in Tulsa.
• Preparing to host the USA Volleyball staff for a site visit Nov. 7-9.
• Following up with contacts made at the TEAMS Sports Travel Conference.
• Meeting with current and potential Tulsa’s Future II investors.
• Hosting the publisher of Area Development magazine, who is considering Tulsa as a site for the publication’s 2011 Energy Consultant’s Forum.
• Working with the Regional Task Force to develop a job creation incentives program.
• Facilitating meetings to keep the proposed Transmodal Facility Project moving.
• Meeting with potential regional partners for Primary Job recruitment to Northeast Oklahoma.
• Attending the Tulsa Area Partnership consultants networking event in Dallas.
• Attending the Oklahoma Business Roundtable Meeting in OKC.
• Attending the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park grand opening.
• Attending the Area Development – Women in Economic Development Conference.
• Hosting the annual Small Business Council retreat.
• Attending the Tulsa Area Manufacturing Association monthly meeting.
• Sending a direct mail piece to site consultants around the country highlighting the Chamber’s BRE program and its recent national recognition.
• Attending a Blue Dome District Association meeting.
• Presenting at the Southwest Regional Conference.
• Hosting the second annual Employer Workforce Outlook.
• Attending a Tulsa Ballet board meeting.
• Attending a TulsaNow board meeting.
• Planning an upcoming Health Care forum.
• Attending the Education Trust conference in Washington, D.C.
• Planning the second Adult Enrollment Blitz.
• Recruiting coaches for the College Access Career Readiness Coach.
• Working to provide information to voters and defeat State Question 744.
Tulsa’s Young Professionals:
• Confirming new leadership team positions for 2011.
• Begin meetings to design and launch a new website in summer 2011.
Marketing and communications:
• Completing a number of website updates.
• Planning press conferences to assist two local companies in making announcements.
• Completing a nomination for the Tulsa region to be included in a new publication ranking list.
• Attending the annual Small Business Council retreat.
• Touring the University of Tulsa to learn about a few of its unique training/education offerings.
• Hosting the Gubernatorial Debate.
• Making the community aware of the Chamber’s position on the state questions.
• Assisting with media relations for the Arabian Horse Association.
• Assisting with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s press conference.
• Spearheading Tulsa area fundraising efforts to oppose SQ 744.
• Fundraising for the OklahomaBizPac and TulsaBizPac.
• Securing endorsements for the 2011 OneVoice agenda.
• Preparing for the Gubernatorial Debate.
• Monitoring legislative interim studies.
• Attending House District 68 Candidate Forum.
• Attending Annual Leadership and Board Retreat.
• Presenting at Small Business Council Planning retreat.
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:
• Artworks Tulsa Photography
• Expert Message Group
• H & R Block
• Lansing NGL Services
• Majeska & Associates, LLC
• Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association
• Paul Davis Restoration
• Sargon Solutions
• U.S. Safety Sign & Decal
Ahmady's Persian Rugs, Inc.
Mr. Siamak Ahmady, Owner
8027 S. Sheridan Rd.
Tulsa, OK 74133