The Oklahoma Department of Commerce announced that 840 new jobs will be created by two companies recently accepted into the Quality Jobs Program (QJP) in June. Ameron International Corporation, manufacturer of steel pole products for traffic signal, highway and residential street lighting, will expand in Tulsa and create 129 jobs. Adfitech, Inc., a business process outsourcing company that provides quality control, due diligence and forensic loan reviews for the mortgage industry, will expand in Edmond and add 711 new jobs.
The Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program allows qualifying establishments creating new quality jobs to receive an incentive to locate or expand in Oklahoma. Administered by Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the program provides quarterly cash payments of up to 5 percent of new taxable payroll directly to a qualifying company for up to 10 years.
Since its inception in July 1993, the state has issued more than 650 contracts to locating, expanding and start-up businesses. To date, more than $725 million in performance-based wage rebates has been paid because of the Quality Jobs Program.
The state also benefits from new state personal income tax, sales and other consumption tax receipts as well as multiplier benefits from the added workers. Quality Jobs is a revenue neutral program and is risk-free to the state because without new payroll, companies do not receive rebates.
To qualify, a company must be a central administrative office, manufacturer, research and development, or a listed service company with 75 percent of total sales to out-of-state customers. Most companies must achieve a $2.5 million taxable payroll for any four consecutive quarters during the first 12 quarters in the program. Once the company achieves the threshold, it may remain in the program for the rest of the 10-year period. However, once the threshold is achieved, a company must maintain the $2.5 million payroll for four consecutive calendar quarters on a cumulative basis or it does not qualify for incentive payments until the four consecutive quarters payroll requirement has again been met. All businesses must offer basic health insurance coverage to all employees, and 80 percent of employees must work at least 30 hours per week.
The amount of each company's incentive is determined through a cost-benefit analysis prepared by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Costs to the state resulting from in-migration/other grants may decrease the amount of benefit the state receives from a company, thus lowering the incentive payment. Payments cannot exceed 5 percent of payroll and have historically averaged about 4.5 percent.
Companies that receive incentive payments also may be eligible for the five-year ad valorem tax exemption (manufacturing), free industry training program, foreign trade zone and freeport benefits, and other technical/financial assistance programs. Firms cannot utilize the jobs or investment tax credit, sales tax exemptions for construction, and a variety of additional tax credits and exemptions. For more information on business retention and expansion activities in Oklahoma, visit www.OKcommerce.gov/bre.