2013 OKC & Tulsa Joint Legislative Agenda
The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber recognizes the benefits of partnerships when working to represent the business community and create a pro-business climate statewide. In 2013, the Chamber will work together with the Tulsa Metro Chamber to lobby the State Legislature on the following issues.
Development, Economy & Taxes
The Chambers appreciate the efforts by Governor Fallin and the state legislature to review and streamline Oklahoma’s tax system. The Chambers strongly believe that all efforts to alter Oklahoma’s current tax rates and structure should maintain revenue neutrality for core areas of state government, avoid using multi-year tax reduction formulas, exclude highly-volatile revenue sources in growth calculations, and prevent shifting the burden of generating or collecting future tax revenues onto Oklahoma’s businesses.
Workers’ Compensation Reform
With Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation insurance rates continuing to escalate and claim costs continuing to be higher than the national average, significant reforms to the state’s workers’ compensation laws must be enacted. The Chambers will support all changes necessary to make Oklahoma economically competitive in this area.
Economic Development Incentives/Tax Credits
The Chambers support the continued implementation of effective economic development incentives as a means of maintaining Oklahoma’s competitiveness with surrounding states, and to continue attracting high-quality jobs for our citizens. In particular, we support the Quality Jobs Program (QJP); the 21st Century QJP; the Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures for Historic Buildings incentive; the Investment/New Jobs Tax Credit; and the Aerospace Engineering Tax Credit.
Quality Events Act
The Chambers support strengthening the Oklahoma Quality Events Incentive Act to allow Oklahoma’s communities to attract high quality, high impact events in an increasingly competitive regional, national and international market.
Nexus/Internet Sales Tax Legislation
The Chambers support legislation to require retailers with a physical presence in Oklahoma to collect and remit sales tax on internet sales.
The Chambers advocate full funding for programs managed by OCAST, including the Seed Capital Fund and other programs managed by i2E, to support the creation and growth of small businesses and jobs in Oklahoma.
The Chambers support additional lawsuit reform in Oklahoma, including legislation to:
- Absolve businesses from liability when providing products or services in emergencies.
- Place “lawsuit lenders” under the UCC Consumer Credit Code or state usury laws.
- Adopt the “Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting Act” to establish policies and limits on the use of private contingency fee attorneys on behalf of the state.
The Chambers oppose illegal immigration. We support an improved immigration process that promotes the ability of students and workers to enter the United States lawfully and allows employers to accurately verify the status of employees through a federal database. The Chambers believe that immigration policy should be set by the federal government and support comprehensive immigration reform at that level that recognizes the need for essential workers so the U.S. can continue to attract the best and brightest talent from around the world.
The Chambers support legislative reform efforts designed to strengthen the long-term financial condition of the state’s pension plans.
The Chambers will work with all significant stakeholders to examine the benefits and consequences of updating the state’s liquor laws.
Fully Funding Recent Education Reforms
The Chambers support protecting existing education reforms – in particular ACE, Reading Sufficiency and Teacher Leader Effectiveness – by fully funding the strategies necessary to successfully meeting these expectations.
The Chambers support encouraging education innovation and effectiveness by funding grants to local districts for pilot programs that test creative approaches in providing a 21st century education.
The Chamber supports the creation of more charter schools and enabling successful charter schools to grow.
School Records System
The Chambers support aggressive implementation or a uniform, statewide student records system.
Consolidating Administrative Services for K-8 Districts
The Chambers support improving efficiency and student access to equitable services by consolidating the administration of K-8 districts into their high school districts.
The Chambers support efforts by Oklahoma’s leaders to develop an Oklahoma plan to extend health insurance coverage to Oklahoma’s uninsured residents and cover the costs of uncompensated care that is currently shifted to responsible employers and health care providers. Acceptance of federal funds should be considered.
Health Insurance Network
The Chambers support the creation of an Oklahoma-led and private sector-based health insurance network that will provide a marketplace for Oklahomans and serve to prevent the imposition of burdensome federal mandates upon the State of Oklahoma required under the current federal health care law.
The Chambers oppose new health insurance mandates and liability that will undermine an employer’s ability to provide quality health insurance at a reasonable cost to employees.
Because HB 1381 (the SHOPP Act) expires in 2014, the Chambers support a long-term solution to fund the state’s Medicaid program through full reimbursement funding for Medicaid services provided by hospitals to the federal upper payment limit (UPL). The Chambers further support setting the Medicaid reimbursement rate for physicians at no less than 100% of Medicare rates.
The Chambers support incentives to recruit and retain Primary Care Physicians and Allied Health Professionals in Oklahoma, especially in rural and underserved areas, through expansion of residency programs in the state’s Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), medical schools, scholarships, loan forgiveness and other incentives. The Chambers further support efforts to identify new funding streams dedicated to this initiative.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
ODOT Eight Year Plan
The Chambers support annual appropriations necessary to preserve and implement ODOT’s eight-year construction work plan.
Governor’s Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan
The Chambers support providing annual adequate state appropriations to implement Governor Fallin’s Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan to repair or replace all of Oklahoma’s structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges by 2019 and to complete the expansion of the Kilpatrick and Creek Turnpikes.
Ports of Entry
The Chambers support providing adequate annual state appropriations and staffing levels for the expedited completion and effective use of weigh stations at Oklahoma’s ports of entry, ensuring the protection of roads and bridges from unnecessary damage caused by overweight freight loads.
Bond to Repair State Capitol
The Chambers support the use of state bonds to immediately begin repairs of the Oklahoma Capitol Complex.
The Chambers will oppose significant reductions in federal spending through sequestration, and support a balanced approach to reducing our national deficit.
Marketplace Fairness Act
The Chambers support fair and equal treatment of local businesses through passage of the Main Street/Marketplace Fairness Act which would allow collection of sales tax from online sales and provide a level playing field for brick and mortar retailers.
Federal Highway Trust Fund
The Chambers will work with our Congressional delegation, the US Department of Transportation, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to secure a permanent funding solution for the Federal Highway Trust Fund (including Mass Transit Programs).
MAP-21 (Long-Term Surface Transportation Reauthorization)
The Chambers support full funding for the current MAP-21 Transportation bill. The Chambers further support reauthorization of a multi-year Surface Transportation Act before the current two-year MAP-21 bill expires.
Support restricting federal rulemaking authority
The Chambers believe federal agencies, particularly the EPA, are issuing significant regulations at an accelerated rate without adequately measuring effects on American workers and consumers. Therefore, the Chambers will support and encourage members of Congress to restrict federal rulemaking authority by requiring a comprehensive and cumulative analysis of the total economic impact of rules, including the effect on jobs, electricity rates and reliability, gasoline-prices, energy-intensive manufacturing, small businesses, power plant closures, agriculture, and state and local governments.
For more information, please contact a member of our Government Relations staff.