Sen. Patrick Anderson has proposed using funds from the Department of Commerce budget to help Oklahoma communities provide economic incentives to relocate gulf coast area businesses and industries destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Anderson suggested the initiative in a letter to Gov. Brad Henry sent on Thursday.
“Last May Gov. Henry vetoed intent language for $3,155,000 in funds specified for economic development projects in communities throughout the state. The money itself is still in the Department of Commerce budget,” said Anderson, R-Enid.
“Since the intended use was economic development, what better way to fulfill that goal while also helping our neighbors? It may take years to rebuild the needed infrastructure in the gulf coast, while dozens of towns in Oklahoma already have the infrastructure these businesses need in place.”
Sen. Anderson said legislative action may be necessary to reallocate those funds. If that is the case, he has requested Gov. Henry to expand the special session to include this issue.
“While some businesses may decide to rebuild in their original locations, it may not be feasible for others to do so. In that case, utilizing these available funds for economic incentives would really be a win-win option for those businesses and industries as well as for our state.”