Energy companies comprised the bulk of the 10 companies receiving the most in state Quality Jobs funds. Chesapeake Energy Corp. received the most, at nearly $7.2 million, followed by SandRidge at around $6.6 million and ConocoPhillips at $4.8 million.
Only three non-energy companies are on the top-10 list: Dell, Spirit AeroSystems and The Professional Basketball Club, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Rounding out the top 10 are Holly Refining & Marketing, Halliburton, Devon Energy and Williams Companies.
During fiscal year 2011-2012, the state gave 152 companies a total of nearly $68.9 million under the Quality Jobs Program. An estimated $38.1 million, or around 55 percent, went to the top 10 companies.
Quality Jobs gives qualifying firms up to 5 percent of its newly created taxable payroll. A company must achieve a $2.5 million taxable payroll for any four consecutive quarters during its first three years in the program and offer an average wage that at least equals the average wage in the county in which it is locating or expanding (up to $30,754).
If the company meets all of the requirements during the three-year “ramp-up period,” it can remain part of the program for 10 years, said Don Hackler, deputy general counsel and public information officer at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
“The Quality Jobs Program is designed to incentivize the creation of new jobs in Oklahoma in qualifying industries, primarily manufacturing,” Hackler said.
The program also requires that qualifying companies provide benefits, such as health insurance, to their employees.
According to data from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the total amount paid out to businesses last fiscal year was the most since at least 2007.
This year’s biggest recipient, Chesapeake Energy, overtook last year’s top two money recipients, SandRidge and ConocoPhillips. Chesapeake has grown in the amount received by the state since it fell from about $4.2 million in FY 2007 to around $1.3 million the following year.
Every company in the top 10 received more Quality Jobs money last fiscal year than the year before.
It was an active year for the program, which has seen the participation of more than 650 companies since it began in 1993. Fifty-two businesses signed on to it last year — the highest number to join in a single year, according to Hackler.
Many of those companies are Oklahoma businesses looking to expand, he said.
“That’s one of the governor’s emphases, to work with and develop those companies that are already here, as opposed to expending resources and chasing companies,” Hackler said. “We still pursue companies and urge them to come, but we want a greater emphasis on companies here and helping them to succeed.”
The OKC version
Oklahoma City has its own incentive program, known as the Strategic Investment Program, or SIP. Only two companies last fiscal year received SIP money in addition to state Quality Jobs funds.
Nevertheless, there are six companies that have either received both SIP and Quality Jobs dollars in the past or will in the future.
Paycom Payroll LLC received $236,397 from the state and $289,188 from the city last fiscal year. Chesapeake received a little more than $1 million from the city in addition to the state funds.
The Quality Jobs Program, began in 1993 and, as of June, has seen the participation of more than 650 companies.
The total payroll generated under the Quality Jobs program is more than $17 billion, with the average worker wage under the program sitting around $59,000.