New Software Engineer Tax Credit passes
Legislation to address an extensive statewide shortage of qualified software and cybersecurity engineers has been sent to the Governor. HB 2759 would provide a tax credit up to $2,200 annually for qualifying employees who receive a degree from an accredited institution, or $1,800 annually for qualifying employees who are awarded a certificate from a technology center. To receive the credit, employees must meet strict educational requirements and obtain employment in a qualified industry for a qualified employer. The credit could be claimed no more than seven years and could not be claimed simultaneously by an individual claiming the tax credit for aerospace engineers.
The Greater OKC Chamber, along with the State Chamber and Tulsa Regional Chamber, initiated this legislation and worked throughout session with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Oklahoma Tax Commission to refine and improve it. The program will contain a $5 million annual cap, a ten-year sunset and will be subject to stringent evaluation by the State's Incentive Evaluation Commission, a program the Chamber strongly supports. HB 2759 was passed by the House 87-5 and the Senate 34-10.
One notable example of the statewide shortage of software and cybersecurity engineers is Tinker Air Force Base, which has an immediate need of 1,100 such employees. Robert McMahon, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment at the U.S. Department of Defense, recently stated Tinker AFB needs to immediately and proactively build software engineering capacity to meet the future needs of the U.S. Air Force. However, this workforce shortage is not limited to Tinker AFB - other Oklahoma military installations, as well as businesses throughout the state, are in immediate need of a state program to incentivize and grow this critical, 21st century component of Oklahoma's workforce and economy.
This is a very important bill that will position Oklahoma to be a leader in the development of a quality workforce of software/ cyber-security engineers. It was our Chamber's top priority.