A bill introduced by Edmond State Senator Kristin Thompson would create another state agency in Oklahoma, one with an intent of focusing on economic development and business retention.
Her Senate Bill 1447 would create the Oklahoma Office of Economic Development, Growth and Expansion, or OK EDGE.
“As a businessperson and as a policy maker, it is clear to me that our current model is antiquated and change is needed,” Thompson said, reported the McCarville Report. She said the new agency would “revolutionize and transform” economic development and more importantly keep businesses in the state.
“Recently, we have lost out on several large projects, and have seen major employers leaving the state. Other states are beating us, and it’s hurting Oklahoma communities both large and small,” explained the Republican Senator.
“Through months of conversations with public and private partners in the economic development and business retention space, it has become apparent to me it is unclear who truly oversees recruiting new businesses, closing deals or ensures current employers’ needs are being met. The vision for OkEDGE is to completely change the way Oklahoma does business.”
The Senator’s bill asks for one-time investment of $698 million which she contends would create an 8% return on investment. Under her bill, the new agency would absorb current employees from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
Source: McCarville Report