The Norman Transcript

State/Region

September 30, 2013

Jobs program continues with payments despite layoffs

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma program intended to attract jobs through incentive payments to companies has continued making the payments to some recipients even though they’ve laid off hundreds of workers.

The Quality Jobs Program enrolls companies that agree to create a minimum of $2.5 million in new payroll within three years and meet minimum wage and benefit requirements. If they maintain a minimum number of employees, there are no consequences for layoffs.

The companies receive up to a 5 percent rebate on payroll taxes for up to 10 years in exchange for creating new jobs in Oklahoma.

The law, adopted in 1993, contains no “clawback” provision to require companies to repay the money if they lay off workers, go out of business or move out of state.

The Oklahoman reported (http://bit.ly/18gMUSW ) that Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. has received $8.27 million in incentives in 2013. The company said it laid off 86 workers last week, after eliminating an undisclosed number of employees earlier in September. More layoffs are expected at Chesapeake.

The company declined comment.

SandRidge Energy Inc. has accepted $2.48 million in 2013. In January, the company laid off an undisclosed number of workers in Oklahoma City. Houston-based Halliburton Co. has received $1.29 million through August despite laying off 130 workers in Duncan.

SandRidge exited Quality Jobs in the first quarter of 2013, after reaching the maximum dollar amount it could receive from the program.

“Quality Jobs establishes a baseline for companies upon entering the program,” SandRidge spokeswoman Leslie Weiher said in a statement. “Benefits are based on payroll only for jobs created above baseline employment on or after the projected start date for the duration of the agreement.”

Halliburton remains eligible because it keeps a presence in Oklahoma above the baseline of 2,666 jobs outlined in its Quality Jobs deal with the state.

“The program pays companies based on employee number increases above that base number each quarter,” company spokeswoman Susie McMichael said. “If the number falls to the baseline or lower, we get no payment.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Survivors observe 19th anniversary

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Survivors, rescue workers and the family members of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have observed the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack....

    April 20, 2014

  • State budget talks center on cuts

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With six weeks left in the 2014 session, behind-the-scenes negotiations among the House, Senate and governor’s office are ramping up on how to plug a $188 million hole in the budget and fund programs for education, public ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose measure

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature, proposed as a reaction to the case of an oral surgeon accused of maintaining filthy office conditions, that deals with training requirements for oral surgery ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose legislation

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature dealing with training requirements for oral surgery dental assistants....

    April 20, 2014

  • Pork producer subsidiary plans to use compressed gas

    GUYMON — A subsidiary of Oklahoma pork producer Seaboard Foods has begun using trucks fueled by compressed natural gas to deliver biodiesel....

    April 20, 2014

  • Oklahoma City Memorial Bombing museum gets tech boost

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A memorial and museum built to remember the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade so it can better portray how different the world was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the ...

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. puts off pipeline decision

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely....

    April 19, 2014

  • Sonic plans expansion

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Sonic Corp. plans to open 1,000 new drive-in restaurants nationwide over the next 10 years, expanding the chain by about 30 percent, the company said....

    April 19, 2014

  • Fallin disappointed SBAdenied loans

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she is disappointed that a federal agency denied a request for loans to businesses in two Oklahoma towns affected by an emergency bridge closure....

    April 18, 2014

  • Oklahoma Senate approves limits on abortion drug

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs in Oklahoma in a bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision....

    April 16, 2014