Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bills Give Incentives for New Sites, Technology Transfer

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bills Give Incentives for New Sites, Technology Transfer

Article excerpt

The Senate Economic Development Committee passed several bills by Sen. Ted Fisher, D-Sapulpa, committee chair, that provide incentives to businesses seeking new locations and establish procedures for technology transfer.

Fisher said Senate Bill 1289 sets a limitation on awarding Quality Jobs incentives to businesses in high-employment counties with population of more than 350,000. Currently these include Tulsa and Oklahoma counties, whose unemployment rates hover at or below 3 percent. Fisher said a high-employment county is defined as one with a joblessness rate below 3.5 percent.

In addition to current Quality Jobs requirements, a business in a high-employment county would have to pay at least 80 percent of its workers in new direct jobs an annual salary of at least $28,800. The bill allows inclusion of health care premiums in annualized wage calculations. This requirement would not apply to businesses that are in opportunity zones in high-employment counties, if they pay at least 30 percent of their annual payroll to employees who live in the opportunity zone. An "opportunity zone" is one or more census tracts in which at least 30 percent of residents have an annual gross household income below the federal poverty level. The bill was passed out of committee with a stricken title. Also approved was a committee substitute for Fisher's Senate Bill 1405 which, along with its companion legislation Senate Joint Resolution 29, would give state colleges and universities the right to have an ownership interest in any business enterprise commercializing technology or other intellectual property that is the result of university research. The resolution will have to be put before voters for approval. Fisher said the legislative package is needed because, under current law, universities and their faculty can share in royalties from such enterprises, but cannot have an ownership interest in them. …

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