Tulsa Chamber, Partners Announce Legislative Priorities

President and CEO, Tulsa Metro Chamber

ENSURED SUPPORT: Becky J. Frank, 2012 Chamber chair and chairman and CEO of Schnake Turnbo Frank PR, helped introduce the OneVoice legislative agenda to Tulsa-area elected officials and Chamber leadership at a press conference in January.

Early in 2012, we can see many areas of the economy picking up again. Tulsa’s unemployment level is going down. We have more businesses interested in relocating to the region, and our downtown shows unlimited promise, with as many as six cranes peppering the skyline. But while we could be content with this momentum, we must continue to work aggressively to ensure Tulsa can and will reach its full potential. And as with any great city, that work will never be finished.

Five years ago, the Tulsa Metro Chamber began partnership with organizations, companies, chambers and other entities to form a unified coalition for our region – OneVoice. This partnership has grown to include the Chamber and 55 regional partners, and we prove every year that strength lies in numbers.

The Chamber began the strategic process of identifying this session’s legislative agenda items during a series of task force meetings last summer. Those task force meetings revealed a list of issues that were then presented during the Regional Legislative Summit recently. More than 300 community leaders and representatives joined us to select their top issues for consideration.

I’m often asked where the OneVoice legislation agenda comes from – where those ideas are born and how one issue is chosen over another. The answer is, through a very thoughtful process involving all of our Northeast Oklahoma area chambers of commerce and a cross-section of individuals who have something inspiring in common, making sure the Tulsa region is the best it can be.

The Tulsa Metro Chamber and its 55 regional partners recently announced the top OneVoice state and federal legislative agenda items to advocate for the 2012 session. Among them are education, the Quick Action Closing Fund, health care and infrastructure. Each item could assist in lifting our economy, and therefore, our quality of life.

Over the regional OneVoice agenda’s five years, we have had many successes, and we continue to gain ground in uniting the region and making an undeniable impact in Oklahoma City and Washington D.C., for the region’s benefit.
In 2012, OneVoice state priorities include the following:

• Increase funding for public PK-12, career and higher education and oppose any diversion of educational revenue sources.

• Fund the Quick Action Closing Fund created in 2011

• Support the building of the Gilcrease Expressway and Bridge through any funding mechanism available

• Support legislative action to preserve, expand and diversify sources of revenue available to municipalities / locally elected city councils

• Support currently unavailable specialty care services to the uninsured through new funding of $7 million annually to OU’s Tisdale Specialty Health Clinic and $2 million annually to the Center for Health Sciences

• Defend all existing road funding; prevent any diversion of monies; and support increased funding for transportation

• Support continued funding for the Medical Center

• Support a state bond issue for capital investment in the Oklahoma Historical Society’s planned Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture to maximize private monetary and land donations

• Support ways to leverage and maximize federal funding of reimbursement programs such as Insure Oklahoma, SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program), Medicaid, Upper Payment Limit (), Disproportionate Share Hospital () and Graduate Medical Education ().

• Support $2 million in funding for the Tulsa Community Supercomputer to help foster, retain and attract high paying research jobs while supporting the regions existing health, energy, aerospace, nano and cyber business clusters.

OneVoice partners will also advocate for 10 federal priorities. These are listed in our agenda available online at www.TulsaChamber.com.

Updated 02-27-2012

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