Each February, our state leaders meet in Oklahoma City in for the start of the legislative session. Over the next few months, lawmakers follow a tight timeline to discuss, amend and pass legislation shaping how Oklahomans live, work and do business.

The Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority team travels to the Capitol throughout session to advocate on behalf of Claremore's business and industry partners and serve as a voice for business-driven advocacy. Our staff utilizes the time in Oklahoma City to discuss priority issues face-to-face with elected officials and their impact on local business. Each year, crucial economic incentives, such as the Quality Jobs Act and other economic drivers, are under review and up for consideration. It is imperative that legislators are educated on the importance of these valuable development tools and how they aid and support business growth and expansion within our state.

One such item we are tracking is House Bill 3082, which waives the payroll eligibility requirement for manufacturing operations that qualify for the five-year ad valorem tax exemption in 2021. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, 144 Oklahoma companies who are quality job participants saw reductions in their workforce numbers. Usually, this loss would cause a company to be removed from the investment program.

However, this legislation would allow for an exemption for 2020 and 2021. The passage of this legislation will enable Oklahoma's companies to avoid negative impacts or standstill within the program due to circumstances outside of their control. It will also position organizations for recovery with hiring advantages if they provide quality jobs moving forward.

Another bill impacting our industrial sector is House Bill 3688, which adds "custom manufacturing and fabrication" to the definition of manufacturing for sales tax exemption purposes. Many of Claremore's manufacturers create custom products and were not previously eligible for the five-year manufacturing tax exemption. The five-year manufacturing exemptions aids companies with capital expenditure flexibility to invest in machinery and workforce assets as they begin operations. The passage of this legislation will increase the eligibility for many organizations, allowing for increased participation in the incentive program.

Engagement and participation with our legislators are crucial for ensuring the passage of impactful public policy which supports Oklahoma's pro-business environment. I would encourage each of you to stay plugged in with what is happening in Oklahoma City and its impact on Claremore and our daily activities.

CIEDA remains committed to serving as an advocate for Claremore business and industry. Follow our social media channels and sign up for the CIEDA monthly newsletter at growclaremore.com for more legislative updates throughout session.

Until next time,

Meggie Froman-Knight

CIEDA

Executive Director

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