Tax-cut bill signedA critical piece of tax legislation passed Congress last week and was signed by the president saving Americans from what could have been one of the nation’s largest tax increases.
We are very encouraged to see Congress in support of this critical legislation,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “It is imperative that we take every opportunity to help not only small business owners, but also the American public at large during a time when economic recovery should be the top priority. We simply cannot increase tax rates on a nation that should be allotted every dollar at their disposal to build, invest and create an environment in which business thrives, consumer confidence is high and investments are flourishing."
After passing Senate earlier in the week with a vote of 81-19, the House approved the measure by a vote of 277-148 Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma governor-elect, flew back to Washington late Tuesday night missing her first State of the State address presented by the Tulsa Metro Chamber to vote for the measure.
Fallin told the Tulsa World preventing tax increases, which would destroy jobs and hurt both families and businesses, is her top priority.
"Today's extension of the Bush-era tax cuts represents the best opportunity to ward off a massive tax increase that would be paid for by every American and most small businesses," she said.
Fallin conceded the bill "was far from perfect" and expressed disappointment the tax cuts were not made permanent and the lack of spending cuts.
The Chamber urged its own membership to contact Congress in an effort to ensure the package was passed thus celebrating a victory with the House’s vote.
“We thank the individuals who expressed their concerns to their state representatives about the need for this measure to pass, and applaud the legislators who supported the tax cuts for their efforts and foresight into the needs of our country,” said Neal.
Lamb gives State of State address
Lt. Governor-elect Todd Lamb spoke to the Tulsa regional business community on behalf of U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, governor-elect, who was called to Washington to vote in the tax-cut bill, which was signed by the president last week.
The lieutenant governor-elect gave the formal address at the Tulsa Metro Chamber’s State of the State in front of approximately 700 attendees on the current state of affairs and his forecast for Oklahoma in the coming years.
Lamb was complimentary of the Tulsa Metro Chamber’s commitment to ensuring local needs are in front of and heard by legislators.
“The Tulsa Metro Chamber is an enormous asset to Tulsa and the greater Tulsa region in establishing the OneVoice Agenda that rings very loudly at the state Capitol,” said Lamb. “We appreciate the Tulsa Metro Chamber because what is good for Tulsa is good for the greater Tulsa area and what’s good for the greater Tulsa area is good for the state.”
The overall message of Lamb’s address however was getting Oklahoma to a position able to compete with neighboring states like Texas.
He suggested this could happen through meaningful workers’ comp reform that includes an opt-out provision, increasing fraud investigations, and appointment of conservative workers’ comp judges; more local control; and re-examination of the tax structure.
“Our goal is to see Oklahoma compete coast-to-coast with other states,” said Lamb. “Let’s work together to make Tulsa healthy and the greater Tulsa area healthy.
“Let’s make the best thing in Texas I-35 North.”
To read the Tulsa World article, click here.
Sullivan to serve as vice chair of Energy and Power Subcommittee
The Tulsa Metro Chamber congratulates Congressman John Sullivan on his appointment as vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power in the 112th Congress.
“We are pleased to see an Oklahoman fulfilling such a crucial position in our nation’s government,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “Energy issues continue to be a top priority of our state, our nation and our region, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil continues to be one of our top OneVoice Agenda priorities. We look forward to working with Rep. Sullivan to move our country closer to securing economical energy resources.”
Sullivan will serve alongside Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and will play a key role in advancing the bold “All of the Above” energy agenda laid out by newly elected Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). As vice chair, Sullivan will also be given a seat on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Specifically, he will be responsible for reining in the EPA’s job killing regulations.
“The Energy and Commerce Committee is going to be ground zero for some of the most important policy battles of the 112th Congress,” said Sullivan. “I am proud be a part of the leadership team that will fight to advance our policy agenda, deliver real energy solutions to the American people and reining in an out of control EPA.
Oklahoma is a leading energy producing state where the energy industry employs more than 300,000 workers.
Work to begin on I-244 bridge thanks to grant
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that construction on a new multimodal bridge on Interstate 244 can begin thanks to a signed agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) for $49.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The reconstructed bridge will be Tulsa’s first multimodal crossing to accommodate highway, pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as well as high-speed intercity and commuter rail.
The $86.5 million I-244 bridge replacement project is considered critical to Tulsa’s proposed transit-oriented development plans. Without this bridge, a planned commuter rail line linking Tulsa’s central business district and west bank areas will not move forward.
“The I-244 bridge replacement project is another great example of how the Recovery Act is creating jobs and targeting needed transportation projects,” said Secretary LaHood. “It is also key to the region’s economic competitiveness and will improve both truck and rail freight movement over the Arkansas River.”
Recovery Act dollars will pay for the replacement of the existing bridge, which is in deteriorated condition. The bridge requires excessive lane closures for maintenance work, creating delays for travelers and extensive costs for the state. It is ranked as one of the worst five interstate bridges in the state, according to ODOT.
“This project will bring together multiple transportation options at one location, making it easier and more convenient for passengers and offering more choices to businesses for moving their goods and products,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “In addition, offering more options helps reduce congestion, which will reduce emissions.”
The $49.4 million grant was awarded under the Recovery Act's TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program. The TIGER program is designed to promote innovative, multimodal and multijurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.
The Department announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act on Feb. 17.
Indian Lands Tax Credit renewedThe Tulsa Metro Chamber advocated for the renewal of the American Indian Lands Tax Credit and celebrated a victory last week when Congress voted to extend it.
With the largest percentage of American Indian population in the country and Oklahoma’s unique heritage, two-thirds of Oklahoma qualifies for the special federal tax treatment. The federal employment tax credit is applicable to businesses located in the qualifying areas that employ enrolled American Indians and their spouses. Oklahoma businesses locating or expanding in these areas benefit by an accelerated federal property depreciation schedule, federal employment tax credits of up to $4,000 per qualifying employee per year, and savings of up to 35-40 percent in depreciation of equipment.
“We are extremely pleased Congress chose to renew this vital tax credit,” said Mike Neal, Tulsa Metro Chamber president and CEO. “This tax incentive is an important tool for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce as well as local chambers of commerce to attract and retain businesses to the state.”
What we’re working on:Executive
• Attending a Salvation Army board meeting.
• Attending an Economic Development Corporation special meeting.
• Working on the Talent Management process and evaluations.
• Tulsa’s Future II development and fundraising.
• VisitTulsa strategy development.
Diversity and Inclusion Task force (internal)
• Working on developing a mission statement and a definition of diversity and inclusion.
• Developing objective goals and action items for 2011.
• Meeting with Explore Tulsa.
• Downtown Marketing Meeting.
• Making preparations to promote Tulsa to over 400 religious planners in January.
• Planning site visit for a group looking at Tulsa for a 2012 conference.
• Updating events page on VisitTulsa website.
• Updating and revising Tulsa Area Attractions Map for 2011.
• Distributing the updated Tulsa Visitor Guide for 2011.
• Updating Tulsa Dining Guides for 2011.
• Working on a site visit for a call center project with hundreds of potential jobs.
• Hosting a press conference for a new participant in the Oklahoma Quality Jobs program.
• Hosting a discussion with the Cleveland Small Business Council on best practices.
• Business Retention and Expansion meetings are being held to get an initial pulse of the business climate of companies who have not been contacted.
• Following up with a company who is interested in training resources available through Tulsa Tech.
• Working on copy for the Doing Business with Native American piece for print and website.
• Program manager will be attending a Downtown Marketing Meeting with the VisitTulsa staff.
• Existing business staff will be discussing the feasibility of creating a partnership with the OSBDC to offer Spanish-speaking small business assistance services.
• Small business program manager will be meeting with partners to plan the 2011 graduation “ceremony” for the FastTrac graduates.
Tulsa Sports Commission
• Planning new site visits for upcoming potential sports events to include USA Fencing, USA Volleyball, etc.
• NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Marketing planning.
• Due diligence on American Bicycle Association’s recent site visit for new HQ hotel.
• Lay strategic foundation plans for TSC Fundraising in 2011.
• Performance evaluations and 2011 goals.
• Retention by sales staff and overall organization.
Marketing and Communications
• Drafting content for annual, monthly and weekly publications.
• Preparing marketing materials for NCAA Tournament.
• Securing space for marketing efforts for NCAA Tournament.
• Planning an economic development announcement.
• Completing a direct mail piece to send to site consultants and corporate real estate executives.
• Drafting marketing plans for 2011.
• Making D.C. Fly-In preparations.
• Preparing for Political Directory update.
• Attending Greater Tulsa Hispanic Chamber Annual Meeting and Reception.
• Monitoring legislative interim studies.
Education and Workforce
• Working on Oklahoma Scholars kickoffs at TPS and UPS.
• Working on Oklahoma Scholars presentations for TPS and UPS.
• Completing content for the Partners In Education January 2011 e-newsletter.
• Completing content for the Partners In Education fall/winter newsletter.
• Planning for a CACR coaches training session in January.
• Recruiting CACR coaches.
• Creating a presentation for the Texas Association of Partners In Education conference.
• Finalizing 2010 renewals for ChooseTulsaJobs.com partners.
• Working on getting more participants to complete the Talent Dividend surveys.
• Assisting with the review/selection of candidates for Executive Director of Workforce Tulsa.
Chamber offices closed in observance of holidays
The Tulsa Metro Chamber offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 31 in observance of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
We will resume our regular office hours of 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 27.
For more information about the Chamber's program of work visit www.TulsaChamber.com.
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:
After Hours Truck & Diesel
Big Yellow Store
Dale Carnegie Training of Oklahoma
Discount Mike's Tire & Auto
Horizon Unlimited, Inc. "S" Corp.
JNT Properties LLC
Mathey Dearman, Inc.
Medicap Pharmacy #299
Merle Norman Cosmetics
Metro Roofing Company
Minor Electric and Construction
Nicholson Animal Hospital, LLC
Ron's Hamburgers & Chili
Superior Sandblasting & Coatings Company
Trails End Knife Company
The Columns Estate
Charlotte Hopkins, Owner
8555 S. Oxford Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74137
Crestwood at Oklahoma Methodist Manor
Rev. Steve Dickey
4134 E. 31st St.
Tulsa, OK 74135
Mr. Dan Frey, Managing Partner
2448 E. 81st St., Ste. 950
Tulsa, OK 74137
Expert Message Group
Ms. Colleen McCarty, Owner
5215 E. 71st St., Ste. 1400
Tulsa, OK 74136