Companies cash in Oklahoma job creation incentives even after layoffs

By Brianna Bailey 

Companies that have laid off hundreds of workers in Oklahoma have collected millions of dollars in job creation incentives through the state’s Quality Jobs Program.

Since 2010, six companies in the state have had mass layoffs while enrolled in the Quality Jobs Program — sometimes receiving incentive payments from the state weeks before laying workers off, or continuing to receive payments after layoffs.

The Quality Jobs Program has been one of the state’s banner economic development programs for the past two decades. However, there is no “clawback” provision in the program that would require companies to repay incentives to the state if they lay off workers after receiving Quality Jobs money.

Since its inception in 1993, the program has paid out more than $877 million in payroll rebates. Companies enrolled in the program can get up to a 5 percent rebate on their payroll taxes for up to 10 years in exchange for creating new jobs in the state.

Participating companies have to create a minimum $2.5 million in new payroll within three years to qualify for the payments. Businesses enrolled in the program also must meet minimum wage and benefit requirements.

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