Chicken-Fried News: Relocation bonus 

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George Kaiser Family Foundation funds many community and philanthropic programs and initiatives in and around Tulsa. The Kaiser Foundation celebrated the opening of the 100-acre Gathering Place earlier this year with a free concert by The Roots.

Now the foundation is making national headlines with the announcement of the Tulsa Remote program, which offers $10,000 in grants and additional incentives to remote employees if they move to Tulsa for a year.

The program is similar to one funded by the Vermont state government earlier this year and is designed to attract a younger workforce from outside Tulsa County that is either remotely or self-employed with the hopes that they set up in the city long-term.

Each grant will be distributed over the course of the year. Participants will receive $2,500 for relocation expenses, a $500 monthly stipend and $1,500 after the end of the calendar year.

Those eligible will have the option of living in a furnished Tulsa Arts District apartment a third below its base price and free utilities for the first three months.

The focus on remote or self-employed workers makes sense because you don’t want new employees to compete with already-employed workers in the community. It sounds like a great idea in theory, but don’t ignore the obvious subtext of this initiative: Tulsa is coming for Oklahoma City’s No. 1 spot.

The only requirement is that those eligible for Tulsa Remote move from outside Tulsa County. That means they could be targeting those of us who already live in the Oklahoma City metro area.

The next logical solution is to create a rival program funded through Oklahoma City-based Kirkpatrick Family Foundation and definitely target out-of-state workers but also those in Tulsa. That’s just how we do things. We won’t allow our good-natured rival city to attempt to attract a larger population without fighting back. It makes more sense than annexing more territory to increase Oklahoma City’s tax base.

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