Task Forces to Implement 5-Year Development Plan / in Place in 3 Months

Article excerpt

Task forces to implement the goals and strategies of the state's five-year economic development plan - unveiled officially Monday in ceremonies at the State Capitol - should be in place in the next three months, it was reported Monday by Oklahoma Futures.

State officials present for Monday's event, called "Celebrate Oklahoma's Future," stressed the importance not only of the plan but of the need for passage of two state questions designed to bring venture capital to Oklahoma.

Both the plan and the two state questions, which will be on the ballot in September, culminated from the Oklahoma Economic Recovery Act of 1987, passed last year by the Oklahoma Legislature.

Work on the plan began last October when 18 task forces made up of 650 individuals around the state met and developed ideas of how to improve the state's economy. The task forces to implement the goals and strategies will be in addition to the 18 task forces which formed the plan.

"We are the first state to have developed a five-year plan. There have been other states which have done plans for only one year," said Don Paulsen, secretary of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

The commerce department was put in charge of developing the plan from the task force recommendations.

The plan was approved by Oklahoma Futures, a 21-member public/private board created by the economic recovery act which was charged with overseeing drafting and implementation of the plan, as well as overseeing actions of other entities created by the recovery act.

Implementation of the five-year plan, Paulsen said, is not just the responsibility of the commerce department. Other state agencies will be involved as well, such as the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, the State Regents for Higher Education, as well as private entities and federal entities such as the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Small Business Administration.

Dan Hogan, who co-chairs Oklahoma Futures with Gov. Henry Bellmon, said the five-year plan was developed through the cooperation of the public and private sectors of the state, and that implementation of the goals also will be conducted in that cooperative spirit.

"This is an action plan and not another study that will set on the shelf collecting dust," said Hogan. "We are now in the process of selecting people to chair the task forces that will make each of those specific goals happen."

The task forces, he said, should be on line and working within the next three months.

The commerce department, Paulsen said, already was working to put in place some of its assigned goals.

"We are already working to increase the per capita income to 90 percent of the national average in the next five years and increase wage and salary employment by 100,000 as well in that time," said Paulsen.

"We are working to bring those industries like Marquardt and and the new AT&T operation here who not only employ a lot of people but pay their employees higher wages."

Marquardt has announced plans to build a $10 million to $12 million assembly plant in Lawton to manufacture a "defense related" product. …