“We shouldn’t be subsidizing their payroll,” State program funds OKC Thunder, other big companies’ payroll amid budget crisis

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OKLAHOMA – It’s money never paid to the state of Oklahoma.

“You start piling these straws on the camel’s back and, pretty soon, Oklahoma’s camel is broken, and they can’t carry all this anymore,” said Rep. Mike Brown said.

Brown’s talking about the millions in taxpayer money that goes to companies in Oklahoma.

The quality jobs act has been around since 1993.

It was meant to attract manufacturing and service jobs.

But, the list of companies has ballooned in the past few years, to even include the Oklahoma City Thunder.

$4 million of your tax money goes to the Thunder and its 168 jobs.

“I love Kevin Durant, and I love the players on the team, but we shouldn’t be subsidizing their payroll,” Brown said.

Almost every oil company and subsidiary is on this list.

The state pays up to 5 percent of their payroll.

Last year, Continental got $3,089,179.

Devon got $3,376,531.

Chesapeake got $4,562,476 from the state.

Cutting any of these incentives is not on Governor Mary Fallin’s budget proposal she rolled out Wednesday.

She said those are key in keeping companies in Oklahoma.

“We certainly have incentives on the books that helps us attract investment and attract jobs, which we’ve been very successful at,” Fallin said.

The total amount of state money paid out through the program right now is nearly $100 million.

That’s about the same amount of money that’s been cut to public education this year.

“Everyone is triple, quadruple dipping. And, the ones that are being hurt the most is my schools, my roads and bridges. My correctional officers are eligible for food stamps,” Brown said.

Most of the companies can stay on the “quality jobs” list for 10 years.

State leaders made an exception for the Thunder, who will get more than $4 million for 15 years.

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