Hill Passes Economic Development, Tourism Bills through Committee

State Rep. Brian Hill passed three economic development bills through two House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittees this week.

House Bill 3115, was heard in the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Finance Monday morning. The bill amends eligibility standards for a tax credit program for the automotive industry by expanding the program to any eligible company in the state that is undergoing business expansion or hiring new engineering positions.

Currently, a qualified manufacturer must have been first placed in operation after November 1, 2019, to receive the tax credits.

“During our interim studies, we realized we’re leaving out a large segment of Oklahoma companies, companies that are already here, already employing,” Hill said in his presentation. “We want to make sure they have the same opportunities that we’re providing the out-of-state or new industries that are moving into our state.”

Hill said that about 80% of job growth comes from businesses already operating within the state.

HB3115 passed 7-0.

Hill also presented House Bill 3114 to the subcommittee. The bill repeals the construction materials sales tax exemption for qualified new or expanded manufacturing facilities by cleaning up statute that was made obsolete by the Quality Jobs program.

Hill said the legislation was a recommendation by the Incentive Evaluation Commission. It passed by a vote of 7-0.

“Too often, we prioritize bringing in new, out-of-state businesses when statistics show that expanding businesses grown right here in Oklahoma brings more jobs and economic growth,” Hill said. “While bringing in new businesses is still a worthwhile endeavor, we must also remember to focus on the growth of our Oklahoma businesses as well.”

Later on Monday, Hill presented to the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources another bill he hopes will spur positive economic growth in communities across Oklahoma.

House Bill 3111 creates the Oklahoma Tourism Ignition Program, intended to increase traffic flow and revenue from tourism. The program, operated through the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, would allow municipalities to submit applications for a grant of up to $5,000 for the purpose of creating a statue, structure, mural or other attraction.

“The Tourism Ignition Program presents a path for cities that aren’t directly on Route 66 to benefit from the tourism dollars that the nearly 400-mile stretch of road we’re home to,” Hill said. “The idea is that the dollar-for-dollar match of up to $5,000 will incentivize communities to create a tourism draw and bring in more people and tax dollars to their area.”

House Bill 3111 passed 7-0.

All three bills will now move on to the full House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee for consideration.


Source: Oklahoma House