Don’t forget to vote
The Tulsa Metro Chamber is encouraging its members to vote today or tomorrow in what will be an historic election for the state of Oklahoma.
Last week the Chamber announced its position on five state questions, in addition to its previously announced opposition to State Question 744, and one proposed city charter change.
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 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 are a result of those recommendations.
The Tulsa World’s complete voter’s guide with voter resources and locations is available here.
The Tulsa Metro Chamber has developed a position on six of the 11 State Questions and one of the two City Charter proposed amendments appearing on the Nov. 2 ballot. Click here to find out more.
Vote No on SQ 744
The Tulsa Metro Chamber has joined forces with the One Oklahoma Coalition, a non-partisan, diverse, statewide association, to defeat State Question 744.
WHAT IS SQ 744?
State Question 744 is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would require Oklahoma state government to spend an amount equal to the average per-pupil expenditure in the six states that surround Oklahoma.
WHAT WOULD SQ 744 MEAN FOR OKLAHOMA?
Should SQ 744 be approved, the Oklahoma legislature and governor will be forced to severely underfund critical state government services by more than $1.7 billion a year once it is fully implemented or require substantial tax increases in property and income taxes to pay for and implement the provisions of SQ 744.
The passage of SQ 744 would also cripple economic development in Oklahoma. The state's economic incentive programs that attract new companies and retain and expand existing companies would end - leading to the loss of thousands of jobs.
EXAMPLES OF THE POTENTIAL IMPACT:
• College tuition rates could skyrocket.
• More than $340 million in federal matching dollars to care for seniors, children and ailing Oklahomans could be lost.
• As many as nine prisons could be closed - causing the early release of 8,400 criminals.
• $192 million could be cut from the state's highway budget - derailing the repair of thousands of crumbling bridges and deteriorating highways.
• Programs at OSU-Tulsa, Tulsa Community College, NSU-BA, Tulsa Tech and other critical programs sustaining our future workforce could be cut.
WHY SQ 744 IS A BAD IDEA FOR OKLAHOMA
There are hundreds of reasons to vote "NO." But here are four big ones . . .
• No oversight or accountability of how millions of your tax dollars will be spent.
• No guarantee that any new funding is spent on children, computers, books, classroom needs or teacher pay raises.
• No reforms in public schools of any type are included in SQ 744.
• No way to pay for SQ 744 without massive tax and fee increases or without devastating budget cuts to all other state programs and services.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Follow One Oklahoma Coalition @OneOKCoalition and on facebook at One Oklahoma Coalition for the latest news and information, or visit the website at www.nosq744.com Then retweet and repost updates from One Oklahoma Coalition.
TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND EMPLOYEES
SQ 744 will stop our momentum and will become the ONLY priority issue for our state. By talking to your friends, family and employees about the impact SQ 744 will have on our state, you can help us make a difference and continue to build a stronger business community for our state.
For questions regarding the Tulsa Metro Chamber’s position on SQ 744, please visit our website at www.TulsaChamber.com or call the Government Affairs Division at 919-560-0278.
John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park dedicated
Paying homage to the 1921 Race Riot and honoring historian Dr. John Hope Franklin, officials and dignitaries from across the state as well as Franklin’s descendents gathered in downtown Tulsa last week for the formal opening and dedication of John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park.
The park was commissioned under the direction of the Oklahoma Historical Society with four broad objectives to:
• Lay a foundation for scholarship by gathering materials for research.
• Create a new knowledge through scholarly work.
• Increase the public’s knowledge and understanding.
• Open conversations to bring communities together.
For the complete story about the event with photos, see the Tulsa World article here.
Top Federal highway official compliments Oklahoma’s stimulus work
With bridge decks and roadways under construction all around him, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez got a first-hand look at Oklahoma’s largest stimulus-funded project Tuesday, Oct. 26. The City of Tulsa, the Tulsa Metro Chamber and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation welcomed Administrator Mendez to Tulsa to see the continued progress of the $75 million Inner Dispersal Loop (I-244) reconstruction project as it nears completion.
“Rebuilding this essential link will improve Tulsa’s overall transportation system, which is vital to the city’s economic prosperity,” Administrator Mendez said. “In addition, it will create a more livable and inviting downtown, and boost the economy.”
Work began in June 2009 to replace all the pavement and more than 40 bridge decks on the north and west legs of the IDL. The westbound lanes of I-244 and the west leg are complete, and the eastbound direction is currently under construction. The north leg is scheduled for completion in early 2011.
“Without stimulus funding, the reconstruction of the IDL would have taken many years and many phases to complete,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley said. “The ability to close large sections and tackle all of the work at once ultimately reduces the inconvenience to the driving public and the overall cost of the work. The critically needed roadway and safety improvements on this vital transportation corridor are a win for drivers and for Tulsa.”
Administrator Mendez was highly complimentary of Oklahoma’s progress on this project and also on the state consistently ranking at the top of national lists for putting its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars to work. Of the $465 million awarded for transportation projects in the state:
• Nearly $400 million has been pumped into the state’s economy through payments to contractors.
• More than 2.6 million hours of work have been logged on ARRA projects.
• About 345 centerline miles of highways and interstates are being addressed.
• Approximately 135 highway and county bridges are being replaced or rehabilitated.
More information about Oklahoma’s ARRA funding can be found on the front page of www.okladot.state.ok.us. Information on the IDL project can also be found by clicking on the “Traffic Advisories” link.
Chamber partners to present forum on documentary, Waiting for Superman The Tulsa Metro Chamber is partnering with the Funders Roundtable to present an event hosted by the Circle Cinema to discuss the recently released documentary, “Waiting for Superman.” Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim takes an emotional look at public education and, through the lives of five students, reminds audiences that education “statistics” have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy and Emily. Viewers follow these students as their parents advocate for quality education.
Join us this Wednesday, Nov. 3 from 6-8:30 p.m., at Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis, to hear from a panel featuring Ky Vu, program officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; TPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard; Lynn Stockley, president of Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association; and Kathy Taylor, chief of education strategy and innovation for Governor Brad Henry. Susan Harris, the Chamber’s senior vice president of education and workforce, will moderate the discussion. There is no cost to attend.
Note: This will not be a viewing of the film “Waiting for Superman.” The film is available for view in select theaters, including the AMC Southroads 20 in Tulsa.
Chamber seeking volunteers for nationally-recognized BRE program
Tulsa regional business leaders are invited to attend an informational training session for the Chamber’s peer-to-peer outreach business retention and expansion (BRE) program, scheduled for this Wednesday, Nov. 3.
The BRE program is made possible with the assistance of a volunteer committee of business leaders who accompany Chamber staff on site visits to area companies to determine what services, resources or support they may benefit from. Since January, staff and BRE volunteers have completed more than 450 site visits and assisted with at least 25 local company expansions resulting in at least 1,084 new jobs for the area.
Individuals interested in volunteering may attend the training session, scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3 at the Tulsa Metro Chamber, second floor conference room, 2 W. Second St. Both new and existing volunteers are invited to learn more about the program.
For questions about becoming a volunteer or to attend one of the training sessions, contact Danielle Runyan, business retention and expansion manager, at 560.0265 or email@example.com. Space for the training session is limited, so early registration is encouraged.
Follow @ChooseTulsaJobs on Twitter
Launched in 2007 as part of the Chamber’s workforce attraction initiative, ChooseTulsaJobs.com continues to be improved in order to effectively connect Tulsa-area employers with qualified talent. In spring 2009, a new site was introduced with enhanced search features, a database of hundreds of job listings and information to help companies and recruiters sell Tulsa to prospective employees.
And now, you can follow @ChooseTulsaJobs on Twitter to get updates on new job postings, Tulsa-area workforce news, job fairs and more.
For more information about the Chamber’s workforce attraction efforts or ChooseTulsaJobs.com, contact Denise Reid at 918.560.0255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What we’re working onExecutive:
• Attending the Regional Chamber Coalition meeting.
• Having a breakfast meeting with Terry Simonson.
• Participating in an all staff retreat.
• Attending the Small Business Council meeting.
• Hosting a Tulsa’ Future II Briefing Luncheon.
• Attending the Downtown Coordinating Council meeting.
• Attending the 2010 OCCE Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City.
• Application for CCE (Certified Chamber Executive).
• Training with new business development manager focusing on new member sales.
• Attending Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executive’s fall conference.
• Spearheading Tulsa area fundraising efforts opposing SQ 744.
• Securing endorsements for the 2011 OneVoice agenda.
• Monitoring legislative interim studies.
• Preparing for major Political Directory update after election.
• Working with legislators to secure authors and educate them on 2011 OneVoice agenda.
• Working with Oklahoma City to develop annual Tulsa/OKC joint legislative agenda.
• Working with a task force to develop a regional incentive fund.
• Participating in Tulsa’s Future II fundraising calls and events.
• Working with a task force to develop a strategy for additional direct flights in Tulsa.
• Developing a ‘Benefits Description’ package for regional economic development partners.
• Working on a partnership program with Native American tribes.
• Developing a spring 2011 site consultant event for the Tulsa region.
• Working with KPMG on a headquarters recruitment strategy.
• Facilitating meetings for the development of the Transmodal Facility Project.
• Hosting a BRE volunteer session.
• Attending a Downtown Coordinating Council meeting.
Education and workforce
• The Education PAC will be interviewing TPS school board candidates.
• Preparing for the Adult Enrollment Blitz on November 10.
• Hosting a Health Forum on the Greater Tulsa Health Access Network.
• Continuing recruiting career coaches for College Access Career Readiness program.
• Beginning work on the spring State of Education address with Kate Walsh, National Council on Teacher Quality.
• Meeting with the TCC Center for Energy Excellence & Innovation to discuss small business programs.
• Attending the TAHRA College Relations committee meeting.
• Working to coordinate meeting with partners to discuss training development in energy management.
• Collaborating with OESC on Tulsa Area Employer Council programs.
• Working on content for the Fall/ Winter edition of Partners In Education newsletter.
Marketing and Communications:
• Working with creative agency, Cubic, on a new Chamber spot.
• Educating membership about dire effects of SQ 744.
• Communicating the importance of voting to membership.
• Making final edits to Tulsa Visitor’s Guide.
• Beginning work on the Chamber’s annual publications for 2011.
• Implementing a number of website updates.
• Meeting with a creative agency to determine the brand for the Chamber’s new downtown website.
• Planning a press conference for a company announcing an expansion.
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:
ABI (Avery Barron Industries)
Holden's Drive In
Perfect Practice Athletic Center
Phillip E. Maloney Agency
Retina Associates, Inc.
Theodore Concrete Construction, LLC
Green Country Associates
Strategies by Gracey, Inc.
Best Buy Mobile
Candace Polhamus, General Manager
7021 S. Memorial Drive, Suite 217
Tulsa, OK 74133
Tulsa Natural Health Clinic and Spa
Ms. Connie Morgan-Harris, President
6465 S. Yale, Ste. 804
Tulsa, OK 74136
Holy Family Cathedral School
Mr. Jay Luetkemeyer, Principal
820 S. Boulder
Tulsa, OK 74119
Ms. Majick RavenHawk, Owner
5272 S. Lewis, Ste. 122
Tulsa, OK 74105