After moving swiftly through the Oklahoma Legislature last week, “mega-legislation” meant to attract a multi-billion-dollar business to the Sooner state was signed Monday by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
The proposal would require the company, thought to be Panasonic, to spend at least $3.6 billion on its Oklahoma project to be eligible for financial incentives made possible through House Bill 4455.
Additionally, the company would need to hit hiring benchmarks beginning with at least 500 full-time workers in its first year in a lead up to 4,000 full-time staff by years four and five.
The governor and legislative leaders have called the $698 million incentive package a big win and a potential game changer for the state.
“This could well be the most important economic development and diversification legislation we’ve ever had the opportunity to advance,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, after the bill passed the Senate on a 41-5 vote Thursday.
The Large-scale Economic Activity and Development Act would qualify the company for an annual rebate of 3.4% on qualified capital expenditures for up to five years. In total, the rebates could not exceed $698 million.
However, concerns came from both chambers last week based on the secrecy of the deal in which the governor and top legislators agreed to a nondisclosure agreement, the rush to pass the bill the same week as its introduction and the effort to fund out-of-state business as opposed to local businesses.
Canoo is expected to receive $300 million in state incentives to open an electric vehicle plant at the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor, where Panasonic likely would locate if it decided to choose Oklahoma.
Additionally, a subsidary of the LEAD-eligible company also could receive benefits under the program, if the smaller company invests at least $500 million as part of its Oklahoma project.
The LEAD Act incentive package will be funded this year with surplus unappropriated dollars from the state’s General Revenue Fund. House Bill 4455 created the fund for Project Ocean, and lawmakers will introduce legislation at a later date to transfer the money.
If Oklahoma lands the deal, the state could be home to the second-largest manufacturing facility in North America, with the direct and indirect economic impact estimated to be $26 billion, according to top state lawmakers.