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
  • 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

  • March Oklahoma revenue misses mark by 9.1 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s finance secretary says collections by the general revenue fund fell 9.1 percent below the official estimate in March....

    April 16, 2014

  • University of Tulsa researchers find new species

    TULSA — A salamander first discovered by a University of Tulsa doctoral student in 2011 is being hailed as a new species in an international journal for animal taxonomy....

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma House passes state trooper pay raise bill

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could get their first pay raise in seven years under a plan given final legislative approval Tuesday, though it remains unclear whether money will be available in the overall state budget to ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Barresi decries plan to eliminate Okla. tests

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi is raising concern about a bill before the Legislature that would eliminate state testing in social studies and geography....

    April 16, 2014

  • State-mandated minimum wage draws ire across state

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Organizers seeking a higher minimum wage in Oklahoma are upset with Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to sign a bill that prohibits cities in the state from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma’s 8-month streak without tornado falls

    TULSA — After Oklahoma’s eight-month streak without a tornado was snapped this weekend by a pair of suspected twisters, the state’s wild weather jag continued into Monday, with blowing snow from the Panhandle to Tulsa and freezing ...

    April 15, 2014

  • 4 now charged in college player’s death

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A fourth person was charged Monday in the death of an Australian baseball player who was fatally shot as he jogged in a southern Oklahoma neighborhood last summer....

    April 15, 2014

  • Fallin signs minimum wage increase ban

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Cities across Oklahoma are now prohibited from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day requirements under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Mary Fallin....

    April 15, 2014

  • Opponents carve anti-pipeline message

    NELIGH, Neb. — Opponents of a proposed pipeline that would carry oil from Canada south to the Gulf Coast have stamped a massive message of resistance into a Nebraska field that is in the project’s path....

    April 14, 2014