Oklahoma Lawmakers Work To Beef Up Technology Workforce
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma Legislature looking to bolster a growing and sought after-industry in the state.
Senate Bill 746 will be debated in the house next week, and if passed, will create a new personal income tax credit for new software and cyber security employees.
"These two areas present enormous growth opportunities for Tulsa, for northeast Oklahoma," said Mike Neal, Tulsa Regional Chamber President and CEO.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber is lobbying for the bill.
"Our businesses have been telling us for years, they can't find people in these areas, and they're constantly stealing these people from other companies,” said Neal.
Neal says they, along with the Oklahoma City and state chambers, came to lawmakers last fall.
Because while the state's IT industry continues to grow, Neal says the major companies in the state have massive IT departments, who need quality experts.
"They are in essence IT companies operating under different various businesses,” he said.
While the specifics of this bill are still being ironed out, if passed, it would give a $2,200 annual tax credit for new qualifying software or cyber security bachelors or higher degree holders.
And an $1,800 dollar tax credit for non-degree, accredited holders.
They also have to meet certain wage and industry requirements.
Neal says their goal is to not only keep talented IT workers here, but also bring in even more from around the country.
"Who we think could come here, could develop families here, and be here for years to come,” said Neal.
The bill already passed the Senate.
If signed into law, it would go into effect on November 1st.