Work Comp Reform At Top Of Oklahoma Chamber Goals

                               

Oklahoma City, OK (WorkersCompensation.com) - The State Chamber of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Regional Chamber and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, along with eight local chambers across the state, announced their 2013 Joint Jobs agenda today at the Capitol.

The agenda includes 11 issues the business community will be working to achieve this legislative session, including workers' compensation reform, protection and implementation of the state's effective economic development incentives and continued support of and funding for recently-passed education reforms.The chambers included in the coalition are the State Chamber of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Regional Chamber, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Pauls Valley Chamber, Ardmore Chamber, Bartlesville Regional Chamber, Yukon Chamber, Broken Arrow Chamber, Indo-American Chamber, Skiatook Chamber and Catoosa Chamber.

“Oklahoma is incredibly fortunate to have state and legislative leaders who have put their focus on jobs and improving our state's economy,” said State Chamber President Fred Morgan. “It is critical that we keep the momentum going, which means continued efforts to make Oklahoma the premiere state in the nation to do business.”

Workers' compensation reform, workforce development and health care will likely be some of the top issues tackled by the state Legislature this year.

“There is no issue more important than replacing our costly workers' compensation system, which is a drag on our state's economy,” Morgan said. “The business community is unified behind finding a solution that reduces costs and helps improve health outcomes for workers.”

The agenda also supports an Oklahoma plan to reduce the number of uninsured in the state, including the creation of a private sector health insurance network and development of a long-term solution to fund the state's Medicaid program through full reimbursement funding for Medicaid services provided by hospitals.

“The health care industry plays a vital role in Oklahoma's economy by employing thousands of people and ensuring we have a healthy, productive workforce, which makes our state attractive to businesses and industries,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “Expanding access to health insurance for thousands of hard-working Oklahomans benefits our state's economy in the long-run, and keeps Oklahoman's federal tax dollars in Oklahoma.”

Infrastructure is also an important part of the Joint Jobs agenda, with support for sustainable and permanent transportation funding and efforts to expedite the completion of constructing and implementing continuous operation of weigh stations to protect Oklahoma roads and bridges.

“If we want a sustainable transportation system, it's crucial that we support infrastructure development on the state level, such as the Governor's Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan,” said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “We have to maintain and protect the infrastructure we have while also planning for future needs. It will take a joint effort to find permanent funding and ensure we are meeting the transportation needs of Oklahoma.”

Mike Neal stressed the importance of economic incentives such as the Quick Action Closing Fund, stating “these are vital economic development tools that lead companies to consider Oklahoma for expansions, the location of additional operations and hiring of employees. It is critical we begin building an incentive fund now if we are to compete with cities and states across the nation in the future.”

“It is critical that the entire Oklahoma business community be united in our efforts to move our state forward,” said Morgan. “This Joint Jobs Agenda shows the Legislature that we are committed to working with them to improve our state's economy, which will help create jobs and investment in our state.”

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