The Senate General Conference Committee on Appropriations has given its approval to a bipartisan plan to help expanding military bases in Oklahoma. Senate Bill 751 creates the “Military Base Protection and Expansion Incentive Act.” Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, is principal author of the measure, and Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton, is co-author.
“This brings us one step closer to getting this bill through the legislative process and to the governor’s desk,” Barrington said. “This is critical for our military bases and for our state.”
“These bases have a combined economic impact of $6 billion a year—and it will be more after the expansions,” Bass said. “But that cannot happen unless we step up to the plate and make sure pressing infrastructure needs are funded and ready to go.”
SB 751 authorizes the state to finance bond issues for a loan program for school districts and cities already providing services to the military bases targeted for expansion under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission review. Those include Fort Sill in Lawton, Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City and Altus Air Force Base.
The legislation also contains language allowing two state tire manufacturers, Goodyear in Lawton and Michelin in Ardmore, to apply for a one-time extension of up to 12 months to meet requirements of a 2002 law which enabled them to receive Quality Jobs funds in connection with the retooling or modernizing of their facilities.
SB 751 must next be considered by the full Senate.