Press Release

May 21, 2020

OKLAHOMA IS STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS AFTER GOVERNOR STITT VETOES SB 1595

Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 21, 2020) — Governor Kevin Stitt today protected Oklahoma businesses and the jobs they create by vetoing Senate Bill 1595, which would have eliminated a critical recruitment tool for economic developers.

“I want the world to know Oklahoma is open for business,” said Gov. Stitt. “As governor, my job is to protect Oklahomans from bad legislation that would hurt our state. This bill was passed late on a Friday night with little debate or discussion, and I cannot go along with something that is so forced in at the last hour that some legislators didn’t even know what they were voting for.”

SB 1595 would have repealed an ad valorem tax exemption which is offered by the majority of states, including all states surrounding Oklahoma. According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, ad valorem exemptions claimed are estimated to be associated with at least $13.43 billion in qualifying capital investment activities and more than 75,000 jobs in Oklahoma over the past five years.

“I will continue to push for comprehensive tax reform,” said Gov. Stitt. “However, it is not fair to change the rules for businesses without bringing them to the table to be part of the solution. I’ve said many times that Oklahoma is better when we work together, and this is just another example of how a lack of transparency and inclusion holds us back from becoming a Top Ten state.”

WHAT LEADERS ARE SAYING ABOUT GOV. STITT’S VETO:

“Businesses crave certainty and operate under the assumptions that their state partner will keep its word when incentives are offered and investments are made. With his veto, Governor Stitt today reaffirmed his assurances that the State of Oklahoma is open for business and can be trusted to follow through on their commitments. We look forward to thoughtful and open conversations with the Governor and the legislature regarding the exemption and the value it has provided, while ensuring any adjustments to it are made through the proper legislative channels.” – Chad Warmington, State Chamber President and CEO

“The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber extends its thanks to Governor Stitt for vetoing SB 1595, which sought to repeal one of the state’s premier economic development programs – the Five-Year Ad Valorem Exemption for New Manufacturing Facilities. This program is a critical tool in recruiting manufacturing operations to locate in Oklahoma and has been successfully used by our chamber for that purpose. To lose this incentive program would unilaterally disarm Oklahoma from competing on a level playing field with other states, most all of whom offer this incentive. We applaud Governor Stitt for this pro-business veto.” – Roy Williams, President and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

“There are several recent important projects in our city that used this incentive, and it’s important that we continue to be a predictable partner as we work with job creators. I think the governor is doing the right thing here in vetoing SB 1595. Especially at a time like this, we need all the economic development tools we have. If there are conversations that need to occur about adjustments to this incentive, I’m confident everyone is open to that, but it’s best for our future economic growth that those discussions occur thoughtfully.” – David Holt, Mayor of Oklahoma City

“I want to thank Governor Stitt for his veto of this legislation. Over the last few years, we have added thousands of jobs in the Tulsa Metro through the recruitment and expansion of some of the best companies in the United States. As we work to facilitate the growth of more companies like that in Oklahoma, we need common sense tools like the Manufacturing Ad Valorem Tax Exemption. I am grateful for Governor Stitt’s swift action that will allow us to compete, and I hope his colleagues in the legislature will support all of us who are trying to revitalize our economy by sustaining this veto.” – G.T. Bynum, Mayor of Tulsa

“The Tulsa Regional Chamber applauds Gov. Kevin Stitt for his leadership in preserving Oklahoma’s Manufacturing Ad Valorem Tax Exemption, an important economic development tool for attracting new employers. His veto of SB 1595 enables continued growth of our region and bolsters Oklahoma’s commitment to innovators and job creators. Eliminating the tax exemption would have put Oklahoma at a disadvantage with other states that offer similar exemptions. Gov. Stitt is rightly evaluating every dollar spent at the Capitol, and we applaud his discernment and protection of this incentive.” – Mike Neal, President and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber

“HollyFrontier welcomes robust discussion and debate of tax reform policies in Oklahoma. However, we have concerns given the hurried nature of certain provisions of SB 1595.” – Michael C. Jennings, CEO & President of HollyFrontier Corporation

“Webco Industries appreciates the thoughtful approach the governor took when deciding to veto SB 1595. Manufacturers like Webco require significant capital investment up front to expand, but once we do, we’re here for the long-term. The ad valorem tax exemption is a very important component of decisions to expand because it helps us recover that initial investment faster. It enables Webco’s continued investment and expansion of our operations in Oklahoma, which helps grow the state’s economy.” – Dana Weber, CEO of Webco Industries, Inc.