Bill to Create Groups to Aid State Economic Development/raise Capital, Fund Research, Issue Bonds

Article excerpt

New stateorganizations to develop a state economic policy, raise venture capital, fund research, issue and oversee state bonds would be established under the Oklahoma Economic Recovery Act of 1987, a 92-page bill introduced Wednesday into the Oklahoma Legislature.

Among the new entities proposed by the bill would be Oklahoma Futures to oversee policy, the Oklahoma Capital Corp. for venture capital, the Oklahoma Science and Technology Corp. for research, and Oklahoma Finance Development Authority for bonding up to $100 million.

The bill was authored by members of both the House of Representatives and Senate as House Bill 1444.

The authors drew from an economic development report released to the Legislature last month by economic analyist Belden Daniels, president of the Counsel of Community Development Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.

The bill pretty well would put Daniel's advice into practice. Daniel's report had concluded, among other things, that Oklahoma has to put more emphasis on higher education and research in order for the state's economy to grow.

Oklahoma Futures would consist of the governor, leaders of both houses of the Legislature, and other state officials.

This organization would undertake continuing analysis of the state's economic strengths and weaknesses and oversee the development of a state economic policy.

The bill also amends current statutes to direct the Olahoma Department of Commmerce to work with businesses and local communities toward "the diversification, expansion and competitiveness of Oklahoma's value-added, export oriented economic base in ways to stimulate innovation and complement Oklahoma's geographic diversity."

The Oklahoma Capital Corp. would be established to raise private risk capital for investment in new and expanding businesses.

The Oklahoma Capital Corp. would be a private entity overseen by Oklahoma Futures.

The Oklahoma Science and Technology Corp. would consist of an 11-member board of directors, which includes the governor. …