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2017 Issue 6

D e ve l o p , I n n ov a t e , P r o s p e r

Developing Oklahoma’s Northwest Region Q&A with Stan Ralstin, Regional Development Specialist for Northwest Okla. p. 8

THE STATE OF SMALL BUSINESS Women- and Minority-Owned Business Certification

Certification programs help to benefit small businesses that have traditionally faced extra barriers to market entry or

participation. Some companies and governments use certifications to ensure diversity in their selection of contractors, vendors and suppliers.

Benefits to operating as a certified business: • Expanded contracting opportunities; • Added advantageTX when competing for contracts with TX public and private sector entities; • Entities who choose to do business with you are confident that their reporting of dollars spent with businesses will be verifiable and credible.

Women-Owned Business Certification: The Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC) provides certification for womenowned businesses and can assist in the application process. Oklahoma currently has 238 certificated women-owned businesses in Oklahoma. Any woman-owned small business is eligible to apply for certification. The business must be at least 51% owned and controlled on a day-to-day basis by one or more women. For more information on Women-owned Business Certifications contact Rana Steeds at 405-815-5143 or

Minority-Owned Business Information: ODOC serves as an initial point of contact for aspiring and established business owners, including minority entrepreneurs. As with all businesses, the agency provides information on starting a business, organizations that assist small businesses, and other common questions. For more information on Minority Business Certification contact Ken Talley at 405-815-5218 or

Developing Oklahoma’s Northwest Region Q&A with Stan Ralstin, Regional Development Specialist for Northwest Okla. Agriculture is by far one of the largest industries in NW Oklahoma. Many counties in NW Oklahoma are the top producing counties in the country based on agriculture sales.

Stan Ralstin, ODOC Regional Development Specialist Stan Ralstin has worked at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC) for just over 5 years, as the Northwest Regional Development Specialist. Ralstin’s region covers 15 counties in NW Oklahoma including the Panhandle, where he was born and raised. Ralstin has worked his entire professional career helping to improve the lives of people in NW Oklahoma. What are your major priorities in the NW area? I try to make sure that local leaders, business owners, elected officials at the local, county and state level and community leaders are aware that I am a resource to assist them with whatever their needs are. I work with local economic development (ED) organizations but also with the regional ED organizations that spread scarce resources into a focused effort to benefit the entire region. I have two major regional groups that I work with: the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance (a regional group that has representatives from across all of NW Oklahoma) and the Panhandle Regional Development Alliance (PREDCI) which focuses on assisting local businesses and industry and recruiting new businesses and expansion of existing industry. What are some of the biggest assets in your area? By far the biggest asset in NW Oklahoma are the people, from the Native Americans to the many descendants of the original settlers that claimed the land in the land runs, to the descendants of those who stayed and survived the Dust Bowl. They are pioneering, rugged, independent and resourceful. Other great assets are our natural resources. We have numerous industries tied to many natural resources including, oil/natural gas extraction, pipeline, processing and refining, gypsum, iodine, salt, wind, food processing, wheat, cattle, corn, and more.

What are the main industries in your area? Agriculture is by far one of the largest industries in NW Oklahoma. Many counties in NW Oklahoma are the top producing counties in the country based on agriculture sales. We are one of the leading areas in the country in the production of hard red winter wheat and we grow thousands of acres of corn, soybeans and grain sorghum that is fed directly to the livestock industry. The other major industry in the region is oil/gas. Many jobs in the drilling/exploration part of the industry are tied to the price of oil, but there is a large well-paid employment in the industry that is relatively stable including trucking, pipelines, refineries, mid-stream companies. There are also many secondary industries that are located in the region because of the oil and natural gas production, including three iodine production facilities and two major ammonia fertilizer facilities that use natural gas to produce fertilizer for the ag industry. What are some of the largest companies in your area? Seaboard Foods – Guymon Koch Nitrogen – Enid Advance-Pierre Foods (Recently purchased by Tyson foods) Ditch Witch – Perry Conoco Phillips – Ponca City Continental Carbon – Ponca City Triangle Insurance – Enid CF Industries – Woodward What are some of the newest companies in your area? Iofina – Alva SPF Palatability – Guymon HANOR Family of Companies corporate headquarters – Enid Poseidon Saltwater Systems – Medford Log10 – Ponca City Transportation Partners and Logistics – Enid


What businesses would be a good fit for the region and how does ODOC work to attract those types of businesses? The businesses that would be a good fit for NW Oklahoma are those that are tied to the natural resource base. We recently recruited three new companies that are going to use produced water from the oil/gas industry and reuse, recycle or evaporate which will create a large amount of salt. Other examples include researching and working with the three iodine companies in the region that extract iodine from brine water. NW Oklahoma is the only place in North America that produces iodine. All the iodine is exported out of the state or out of the country. The processing of natural resources creates new good paying jobs for the region. One of the other industries that is growing at a rapid rate is the renewable energy industries of wind and solar. NW Oklahoma and the Panhandle have an unlimited supply of wind and solar power potential. There are wide open spaces that would be suitable for large solar farms and we have seen a large growth of wind power in Oklahoma. We need to be taking advantage of our central location in the United States to recruit manufacturing, replacement parts and other components of wind and solar to create jobs for Oklahomans. We now have maintenance and repair facilities that service wind farms in OK, KS, TX, and AR. ODOC can be a catalyst to work with local ED officials to assist in analyzing the markets, supply chain information, training available in the state, and providing research to assist local communities analyze different sectors of the markets. How do you work to provide workforce solutions for companies? The NW Oklahoma Alliance has identified the need to create a workforce development pipeline to meet the employment demands of industry. We have identified the industries that have the greatest growth potential in NW Oklahoma and have implemented plans to get the common education, CareerTechs and higher education to work alongside industry to expose our youth to the career opportunities in the region. The first step involves industry tours, where we are taking high school teachers and counselors on training days to tour industries in the region and to look at the skills training that the CareerTechs provide.

How have community and development grants helped the region? Grants in the region primarily go to support infrastructure in rural communities. Small communities have the same needs for services and infrastructure as the bigger cities. The cost of sewer, water, solid waste, streets and community facilities are extremely expensive and the cost is astronomical when you look at those costs on a per capita basis. When a small community’s primary source of income is sales tax and a few fees, the revenue is hard to come by. Grants and other low interest loans are vitally important to these communities when they are trying to meet the needs of their citizens. Many emergency services, streets, drainage issues, water lines, etc would not happen without community grants. What services do you provide that communities should be more aware of? Many know we recruit industry to the state, but I wish they knew that we can work directly with existing business to help them analyze the market and assist them with expansions. We can assist them in developing new markets around the world by helping them get into the export market. We have a fantastic research division to help analyze markets, identify supply chains, and analyze labor and many other needs. We also work with and have many contacts for business needs such as financing, grants, industry organizations, research dollars for new products and more. We can assist or provide you with the people that can take you all the way through from a concept analysis, to business plans, marketing, funding, and training for labor. So the bottom line is, the state of Oklahoma has all the resources you will ever need to with your business or industry, so feel free to contacts us for whatever you need.

Governor Mary Fallin Signs Extension of Aerospace Tax Credit Governor Mary Fallin early last month signed into law a bill extending tax incentives to employers and employees in the aerospace industry. Senate Bill 120 will extend the sunset date on the aerospace engineer employee and employer tax credit and the employer credit for tuition reimbursement until Jan. 1, 2026. The credits were scheduled to expire Jan. 1, 2018. “This legislation will help us to attract and retain new business and retain the great jobs made available by industry giants like Boeing and American Airlines,” said Fallin. “The aerospace engineer tax credit has helped to create hundreds of new, high-paying jobs for skilled Oklahomans. It’s also played a key role in maintaining Oklahoma’s position as an internationally recognized hub for aerospace business.” More than 1,100 aerospace-related companies are in Oklahoma, with more than 120,000 workers employed in aerospace and defense-related industries. Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense industries generate more than $27 billion in sales annually. Fallin said extending the aerospace engineers tax credit will provide an additional economic boost to the state and the industry. Sen. Kim legislation, aerospace provide an to the state

David, the author of the said extending the engineers tax credit will additional economic boost and the industry.

“As policymakers, we’re always searching for programs that can help grow and diversify our economy,” said David, R-Porter, who is chairman of the

This legislation will help us to attract and retain new business and retain the great jobs made available by industry giants like Boeing and American Airlines. The aerospace engineer tax credit has helped to create hundreds of new, high-paying jobs for skilled Oklahomans. It’s also played a key role in maintaining Oklahoma’s position as an internationally recognized hub for aerospace business.

~ Governor Mary Fallin Senate Appropriations Committee. “The aerospace engineers tax credit has been a tremendous catalyst for growth in the sector, helping our state attract and retain high-paying engineering jobs. “The state of Oklahoma is poised for even more economic growth and job expansion in the aerospace industry in part due to the program, and I’m proud to author the legislation to expand this successful program. I appreciate the Legislature for passing this bill, and Governor Fallin for signing it into law.” Rep. Scott Fetgatter, House sponsor of SB 120, said the aerospace engineers

tax credit is one of the best tax credits that Oklahoma offers. “For every dollar that we spend on these credits, we are getting two dollars back, said Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee. “This is smart legislation, and if we had more programs like the aerospace tax credits, our state would be in much better fiscal shape.”

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Main Street Award Winners Share Their Success Stories The Four-Point Approach continues to revitalize Oklahoma communities in 2017

The Main Street Awards Banquet celebrates the imaginative, and hardworking people who are dedicated to revitalizing and preserving the historic commercial districts in their communities across Oklahoma ~ Buffy Hughes, Oklahoma Main Street Center Director The Oklahoma MaIn Street Center announced the winners in 21 competitive award categories during the 28th annual Main Street Awards Banquet, May 9, at the Embassy Suites Downtown Medical Center Hotel, in Oklahoma City. “The Main Street Awards Banquet celebrates the imaginative, and hardworking people who are dedicated to revitalizing and preserving the historic commercial districts in their communities across Oklahoma,” said Buffy Hughes, director of the Oklahoma Main Street program. “It was a competitive year with almost 200 entries, these awards emphasize and embody the best people, programs, design, and events happening on Main Street. Congratulations to all the winners.” The Main Street program encourages economic development in Oklahoma communities through historic preservation in ways appropriate to today’s marketplace. By refocusing efforts to bring vibrancy back to a commercial district, communities can find the self-reliance and empowerment needed to rebuild a commercial district and increase the quality of life for residents. Each award falls under one of the “Four Points” in the Main Street Approach. The Main Street Four-Point Approach™ is tailored to meet the needs and opportunities of each community. It encompasses work in four distinct areas – Design, Economic Vitality, Promotion, and Organization – that are combined to address all of the commercial district’s needs. Organization - Main Street is a volunteer-driven program relying on the commitment of private citizens and civic leaders. Organizing your resources and efforts is a proven process helping to ensure economic revitalization. Best Community Education/Public Awareness was awarded to Wilburton Main Street for their Main Street Week Activities. For years, Wilburton Main Street has offered an educational walking tour for fifth grade children. This year, as part of Main Street

Week, the program was expanded to include third and fourth grade children. The tour familiarized students to the architecture of Wilburton’s buildings, the city’s history, and the people that shaped our community. Tamra Tilley and the high school drama class seamlessly weaved in stories about Wilburton’s mining history, as well as devastating and violent tornado. Thanks to an enthusiastic program manager, the talented drama class, and the sponsorship of McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, Main Street Week in Wilburton was a big success. Promotion - creating a positive image that will renew community pride while communicating the district’s unique characteristics, its cultural traditions, architecture, and history and activities to shoppers, investors, potential business owners and visitors. Premier Special Event Over 1,000 Attendees award went to Hobart Main Street’s 9/11: Never Forget grand opening ceremony at the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum. The event was held on the 15th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. The new permanent exhibit allows visitors an opportunity to pay homage to the nearly 3,000 men, women and children from 93 nations who perished that day. General Franks’ outstanding leadership in 2001 as U.S. Frank, Commander in Chief of Central Command was critical in the days following 9/11 as U.S. troops dealt with those held responsible. More than 45 groups, businesses and individuals coordinated efforts for this city-wide event with a volunteer base totaling more than 500 individuals. A lunch preceded a program in the historic Stanley Building and featured nine speakers including Governor Mary Fallin, retired NYC firefighter Bill O’Keefe, Oklahoma Senate pro tempore Mike Schultz, General Franks, and other state and national leaders. The exhibit showcases a 14-foot, 3,000-pound steel I-beam from the World Trade Center, as well as displays of the U.S. Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93.

Premier Special Event Over 1,000 Attendees award went to Hobart Main Street’s 9/11: Never Forget grand opening ceremony

Best Placemaking Project went to Ponca City Main Street’s Veterans’ Plaza.

Design - the appearance of Main Street districts sets a vital first impression for each community by adding an inviting atmosphere through attractive window displays, parking areas, building improvements, signs, sidewalks, landscaping and more.

that offers a truly unique, local experience. 102 Ristorante Flatbread Pizza and Wine Bar has become such a business for Okmulgee. Owners Dwight Beard and Justin Pollard built on their past successful restaurant ventures, giving Okmulgee residents and visitors a dining experience with a flare.

Best Placemaking Project went to Ponca City Main Street’s Veterans’ Plaza. Community members desired a public gathering space in downtown Ponca City. This idea developed into the Veterans’ Plaza which, following many years’ planning and more than a year of construction, was completed in early 2016. For many years, the Veterans’ Plaza site was a vacant lot. The land and much of the planning and project management was directed by Ponca City Main Street, with major support from local businesses and donors; the City played a key role, as well. As envisioned, the Veterans’ Plaza was designed to be a downtown gathering space for citizens of all ages. Now completed, the Plaza features an entrance welcoming visitors with beautifully landscaped beds and a water feature in the form of a fountain and splash pad; the Honor Court, located on the north end of the plaza, is a place of reflection and contemplation; an elevated stage was installed for performances and community events; custom pavers, bronze seals and marble plaques are strategically positioned to honor the many area veterans; and bronze seals honoring the various military branches are positioned close by. The Plaza was presented as a gift from PCMS to the City of Ponca City, which will provide maintenance of the Plaza.

“102”, as patrons call it, sets a new standard of charm and gourmet dining in Okmulgee’s historic downtown business district. Currently, there are only two restaurants downtown serving customers beyond 6pm in the evening; one is the 102 Ristorante, the other is another new restaurant operated by Beard and Pollard, as well. With the impending infux of students filling OSUIT’s new downtown residential lofts, 102 Ristorante owners understand the need to offer a place for young people to enjoy evening gatherings in a town that has gone to bed too early for too long. For a full list of winners from the 28th annual Main Street Awards Banquet visit:

Economic Vitality - highlights each community’s existing assets while diversifying its economic base, retaining and expanding successful businesses to provide a balanced commercial mix and helps attract new businesses. The award winner for Best New Business was Okmulgee Main Street’s 102 Ristorante. Every downtown needs at least one core business attracting people to the heart of their city—one


Small Business Award Winners for 2017 Honored Meridian Technology CBD Named SBA Incubator of the Year

The entrepreneurs we honor exemplify the can-do spirit of Oklahoma. The American dream is alive and well. ~ Dottie Overal, SBA District Director

Small Business Awards Winners were honored at the Oklahoma State Capitol and at an awards luncheon during Small Business Week in May. Keynote Speaker David Lopez, Secretary of State, stated that, small business have provided jobs for 8 million people and that small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs in the United States. “The entrepreneurs we honor exemplify the can-do spirit of Oklahoma,” Dottie Overal, Oklahoma Small Business Administration (SBA) District Director said. “The American dream is alive and well.” For more than 50 years, SBA has recognized the outstanding achievements of America’s small businesses for their contributions in their local communities, and to our nation’s economy. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. And in recognizing the changing face of America, the SBA’s National Small Business Week awards honor individuals and businesses that reflect our nation’s rich diversity. Melinda Stinnett was named 2017 Small Business Person of the Year. Stinnett is Managing Director for Stinnett & Associates, LLC, which she founded in 2001. The Journal Record gave out a special award honoring the Meridian Technology Center for Business Development (CBD) for its service to clients by naming it the Incubator of the Year during the Small Business Awards Luncheon. Dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through networking, education, consulting and business incubation services, the

CBD provides assistance in various areas such as marketing, product planning, international business and writing business plans. As one of 40 Oklahoma Certified Incubators, the CBD is a 25,000-square-foot facility with flexible space that includes two- and four- person offices and light industrial space. The CDB currently has 15 incubator clients in residency, and current tenants employ 33 individuals. Since opening its doors in 1997, the CBD has fostered nearly 80 companies. Incubator clients have access to many infrastructure needs of new companies, such as high quality office and lab space, meeting rooms and a physical address. Companies can be residential or virtual tenants of the CBD. Residential tenants access services and rent dedicated office or lab space for up to three years. Virtual tenants access services but do not rent space. Clients can move easily between both tenant types depending on their business needs and situation. The Center for Business Development is an Oklahoma Department of Commerce certified business incubator. The state of Oklahoma provides special tax incentives for incubator clients. This qualifies resident clients in good standing in the incubation program or approved graduates of an incubator program for a five-year state business income tax exemption, with an additional five-year exemption for businesses that do a majority of their sales outside of Oklahoma. In addition to providing a place for businesses to grow, the CBD offers a variety of networking and education events for entrepreneurs and Business for Breakfast meetings where they can network, share ideas and advance their business skills.

First Step L-R – Matthew Thompson, Katrina Thompson, Barbara Rackley, Secretary Lopez, Lori Smith, and Jennifer Edwards Second Step L-R – DJ Patterson, Aisha Patterson, Allison Dickens, Chris Dickens, Stephanie Elder, Carla Mowery, Melinda Stinnett, Dottie Overal Third Step L-R – John D. Veal, Jr., Eric Kunkel, John Curzon

2017 SBA Award Winners

Additionally, since 2014, more than 120 residents of the Meridian district have attended an Essential Entrepreneurship program that has been taught either at the CBD or in district communities. For more information visit The Oklahoma District Office of the SBA is responsible for providing businesses with tools for enhancing and growing their businesses. It also oversees the delivery of SBA’s programs throughout the state such as: •

Free counseling, advice and information on starting a business through SCORE, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers, and the Women’s Business Center. These organizations also conduct training events throughout the district.

Oklahoma Small Business Person of the Year Melinda Stinnett, Stinnett & Associates, LLC, Tulsa Oklahoma Exporter of the Year Eric Kunkel, CCK Strategies, PLLC, Tulsa Entrepreneurial Success Award DJ Patterson, EcoGreen Mobile Detailing, LLC, Tulsa Young Entrepreneur Matthew and Katrina Thomson, 6th Street Designs, Lawton Veteran Champion Roger Ford, Ford Funeral Service, Midwest City Minority Champion Stephanie Elder, Gallant Background Checks, Tulsa

Financial assistance for new or existing businesses through guaranteed loans made by area bank and non-bank lenders.

Business development assistance via the 8(a) program, available to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Family-Owned Business Champion Allison Dickens, Ludger’s Bavarian Cakery, Tulsa

Veterans assistance through the Boots to Business program and dedicated lending programs for Veterans

Women in Business Champion Jennifer Edwards, REI Women’s Business Center, Oklahoma City

For more information on any of these programs, contact the Oklahoma District office at (405) 609-8000.

Women’s Business Center of the Year REI Women’s Business Center, Durant Journal Record Incubator of the Year Meridian Technology CBD, Stillwater


Let the Sun Shine in The natural next step in Oklahoma’s energy evolution is solar power.

Oklahoma is often known as an energy state, playing a major role in the oil and gas production industry. It is rapidly becoming known in energy circles for its wind power. The natural next step in the energy evolution is solar power. With the Sooner State’s location on the fringe of the Sun Belt, one would think solar energy would play a prominent role in the energy picture. But that’s not quite the case — at least not just yet. It’s true that geographical location is one of the keys to solar energy potential, with Southwestern states California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Nevada having a built-in advantage. However, the amount and intensity of sunlight is just one piece of the solar energy puzzle. A state’s solar energy policies and incentives are often as important — and in some cases, more critical — than the sunlight itself. Solar energy has been somewhat slow to develop in Oklahoma for what many consider a good reason: the cost of electricity in Oklahoma is among the lowest of any state. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity in Oklahoma for the month of August 2016 (the latest month available) was 8.48 cents per kilowatt hour. This compares to 10.83 cents per

kilowatt-hour for the U.S. average — a savings of 22%. In fact, Oklahoma boasted the sixth lowest cost of electricity for that period with only Washington, Louisiana, Idaho, Wyoming and Kentucky having lower cost per kilowatt-hour. At the other end of the spectrum, Connecticut (16.70 cents) and Massachusetts (16.45 cents) possess the highest kilowatt-hour cost among the contiguous states. According to Tyler Ogden, a solar analyst at Boston-based Lux Research, the state of Massachusetts averages about 3.5 “sun-peak” hours a day whereas Oklahoma averages 5 to 6 hours per day. But despite having less solar potential, Massachusetts ranks number six in solar capacity and Oklahoma ranks 45th. Ogden explains that the top solar states are aggressive with tax incentives and environmental mandates for renewable energy. They also make it convenient and economical for individual customers to add solar to the power grid. Still, solar power is growing in Oklahoma. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, $7 million was invested on solar installations in Oklahoma in 2015. The

U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that 3.7 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity were installed in Oklahoma in 2015 which represents a 526% increase over 2014. This ranks Oklahoma 38th in 2015 installed capacity. Oklahoma is growing its solar-ready workforce and education programs, setting the stage to support increased investment going forward. Specialized renewable and sustainable energy degree programs are offered through Oklahoma State University (OSU), OSU-Oklahoma City, Rogers State University, Tulsa Community College and the University of Tulsa. The state’s nationally-recognized CareerTech centers offer specialized training to prepare students for careers in the solar industry and teach technical skill sets that form the foundation for solar array installation and maintenance technicians. “Solar is playing an increasingly important role in Oklahoma as the technology advances and becomes more cost competitive,” said Janet Smith, Manager, Economic Development, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO). “PSO’s long range plan for its service areas in Oklahoma includes adding 200 megawatts of large scale solar between 2021 and 2024.”

How States Are Improving Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth Oklahoma ranks in top 10 for national assessment of evaluation practices. More than half of U.S. states have processes to regularly evaluate their economic development tax incentives, according to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts. How States are Improving Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth: A national assessment of evaluation practices examines the progress that the 50 states and the District of Columbia have made to produce high-quality information on the results of their tax incentives. Tax incentives are a primary tool that states use to try to create jobs, attract new businesses, and strengthen their economies. Incentives are also major budget commitments, collectively costing states tens of billions of dollars a year. Given this importance, policymakers across the country increasingly are demanding high-quality information on the results of tax incentives. Building on earlier Pew research, How States are Improving Incentives for Jobs and Growth identifies best practices. The report recommends that states take three steps to evaluate tax incentives effectively: Make a plan. Lawmakers need to put processes in place to regularly evaluate the results of major tax incentives. Welldesigned evaluation plans ensure that the state’s full portfolio of incentives is examined regularly, that non-partisan staff with relevant expertise are tasked with the analyses, and that the reviews take place on a strategic schedule. Measure the impact. High-quality evaluations carefully assess the results of incentives for the state’s budget and economy. To do so, evaluators must estimate the extent to which incentives successfully changed business behavior, as opposed to rewarding what companies would have done anyway. Inform policy choices. Lawmakers and executive branch officials should use the findings of evaluations to improve the effectiveness of tax incentives. Policy improvements are more likely when states have a formal process that ensures lawmakers will consider the results—for example, by holding legislative hearings on evaluations. Based on these three criteria, Pew rated each state as “leading,” “making progress,” or “trailing.” The 10 leading states—Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington— have taken meaningful steps to achieve all three criteria. They

have well-designed plans to regularly evaluate tax incentives, experience producing quality evaluations that rigorously measure economic impact, and a process for informing policy choices. An additional 17 states plus the District of Columbia are making progress toward becoming leaders. Each state has made a plan by enacting a policy that requires regular evaluation of major tax incentives. However, they have yet to meet all three criteria. The remaining 23 states are trailing. They either lack an evaluation policy or have had a policy in place for five years or longer that has not been effective in measuring impact or helping lawmakers improve programmatic effectiveness. “More states are evaluating incentives with far more rigor than just a few years ago,” said Josh Goodman, of Pew’s economic development tax incentive project. “State officials are using evaluations to identify incentives that are working well and reform those that are not, and as a result, states are saving millions of dollars while achieving stronger economic results.” Still, according to the new report, more than 20 states have yet to put a well-designed plan in place to regularly evaluate their tax incentives. Other states could improve the rigor of their analyses or take steps to ensure that lawmakers consider the findings. “With better information lawmakers can make better decisions,” says Pew’s Goodman, “and will be able to design economic development policies that serve the needs of the state’s budget, businesses, and workers.” Learn more at

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Upcoming Events and Important Dates COMPLETING RFPS WITH CENSUS AND OTHER DATABASES Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 10:00 AM - Noon Indian Capital Technology Center Tahlequah, OK Costs: Free to attend, registration required

Filling out Requests for Proposal (RFPs) can be a daunting task, but it is critical in attracting businesses to your location. Learn how to find the data you need with a free two-hour interactive workshop with direct application for business recruitment and economic development in your community. The workshop will include an overview of major data sources such as Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, followed by a handson session working with ODOC researchers to find the information that companies request about your own town, city, or county.


Registration and additional details at: For questions, contact Jon Chiappe, Director, Research & Economic Analysis Services, at or 405-815-5210 EXPORTECH Spring ExporTech June 22, 2017 Meridian Technology Center, Stillwater

Fall ExporTech July 18; August 22; September 19, 2017

FOR NEW PIONEER SUBMISSIONS AND STORY IDEAS CONTACT: Kimberly Hickerson Editor-in-Chief - New Pioneer (405) 815-5240 Oklahoma Department of Commerce 900 N. Stiles Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73104

The ExporTech program helps companies develop a customized international growth plan so they can enter or expand into global markets and begin selling quickly. STEP will pay 75% of the $1,200 registration costs for up to two attendees for qualifying companies. For questions, contact Jesse Garcia, Global Trade Manager 405-8155136 or Register at: @OKcommerce

INDEPENDENCE DAY Tuesday, July 4, 2017 State Offices Closed

Issue 6 2017  

Job Growth, Incentives, Aerospace, Small Business Awards, Main Street Success Stories

Issue 6 2017  

Job Growth, Incentives, Aerospace, Small Business Awards, Main Street Success Stories