New and Expanding Companies Report

By Rep. Mike Sanders

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce has released its 2nd Quarter 2011 New & Expanding Companies Report. In addition to listing the 40 jobs that will be provided in Woodward by the new Siemens Energy wind service distribution center, the report lists 38 companies that are either expanding or new to Oklahoma. The report projects that these companies will add 2339 jobs to our state economy.

With a total of 64,000 square feet, the Siemens Energy wind service distribution center will serve as a hub for wind energy main components and parts, including wind turbine blades, drive assemblies and generators. Construction will begin this month and is projected to be complete by the end of 2011. Over the next five years, the company expects to create up to 40 high quality jobs at the facility.

A number of other companies listed are in Western Oklahoma. In Canadian County, UE Manufacturing is expanding and is projected to add 150 employees. The company is a global supplier and manufacturer of oilfield service equipment. West Wind Energy LLC is a new company that will add 35 jobs in Concho. In Custer County, Devon Energy is going to add 60 jobs with an expansion of facilities in Weatherford.

I believe these companies are relocating and expanding in Oklahoma, in part, because of the recent passage of workers’ compensation reform and tort reform measures. Companies want to relocate to states with a friendly business climate and, in many ways, an outdated workers’ compensation system has been a hindrance to Oklahoma. Recent reforms will ensure a better protocol for handling workers’ compensation claims, which will lower costs while creating a more timely response to injured workers.

Beginning Nov. 1, 2011, non-economic damages in all civil actions will be capped at $350,000. Once House Bill 2128 takes effect, Oklahoma will join the numerous other states that have enacted hard caps on non-economic damages. A 2008 study by the Perryman Group reports that after implementing non-economic damage caps, the state of Texas created 223,700 new jobs, increased annual consumer and business spending by $55.3 billion, and grew state revenues by $1.4 billion.

Oklahomans have a desire to work hard and provide for their families. This is evidenced by their support of candidates and legislation meant to improve the business climate in our state. I think companies are taking notice and we will continue to see more jobs come to Oklahoma.

I look forward to new constituent requests that I can turn into legislation next year. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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