City of Tulsa Tweaks Incentive Program Meant to Lure New Businesses, Help Existing Ones Expand

Sep 3, 2020

Kitchen ventilation manufacturer Greenheck is one of the bigger companies to benefit from the City of Tulsa's Economic Development Infrastructure Fund.
Credit Greenheck

The City of Tulsa has made few tweaks to an incentive program credited with landing several big employers.

The Economic Development Infrastructure Fund gets money from voter-approved sales tax measures. It’s used to pay for public improvements like roads and water lines companies want at new sites.

The new requirements say companies must offer basic health insurance and paid time off to qualify, and they must pay at least Tulsa County’s prevailing average wage from the prior year. That’s $51,945.

"Our goal is making sure that we’re providing those pathways to higher wages for Tulsans. We want to ensure that we’re directing our incentives to those companies who very clearly are providing entry-level jobs but helping people quickly move up and out of those entry-level jobs," said Chief of Economic Development Kian Kamas.

Companies can pay just 80% of the prevailing wage, however, if they hire people who were justice-involved, offer an in-house career training program, or recognize degrees and certificates from other countries.

"We have many new Tulsans who come here who have degrees or certifications from other countries. They may not be recognized here, and if we can get employers to begin recognizing them, we think that’s only positive for the Tulsa economy," Kamas said.

Companies that do at least two of those things can ask for a 70% exemption if they also create at least 1,000 jobs and invest at least $100 million in capital.