Phil Busey: Do more for Oklahoma Indian business
"Oklahoma is “Indian country.” We have 38 federally recognized tribes that call Oklahoma home and the second-largest concentration of Native Americans in the United States, behind only California. These statistics translate into a lot more long-term economic development fire-power than gaming or tobacco. Economic development brings jobs and opportunities for all Oklahomans. We need every competitive advantage as a bread basket state to compete for current and future business. The governor can take the initiative and utilize our heritage to develop future business and jobs. Tribes contributed more than $10 billion to the state’s economy in a report five years ago and can do considerably more with cooperation and assistance.

Government agencies, prime contractors and large commercial concerns seek and need minority companies to work with. According to the National Minority Supplier Development Council, more than $87 billion was spent in 2004 nationally with NMSDC certified minority vendors. Prime Department of Defense contractors can receive a 5 percent cash rebate for using Native American minority companies.

Tribal SBA certified 8(a)s are at a premium because of their sole source contracting capabilities alone. Tribes can immediately offer businesses in Indian country tax incentives the state has to argue about and approve first. Businesses locating in Indian country can receive up to a $4,000 tax credit per tribal employee hired. All government contracts have a minimum 20 percent small band minority business “requirement.” Most large corporations and Fortune 1000 companies try to contract 20 percent of their annual vendor dollars to small minority businesses.

Small businesses account for 95 percent of all businesses in Oklahoma and employ 45 percent of the state’s workforce. Native American-owned, tribal-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned and all minority-owned businesses are a valuable resource for the future of this state’s economy. Yet the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Web site barely addresses any of the advantages in doing business with tribal entities, let alone minority companies."

Get the Story:
Phil G. Busey Sr: Recognizing that Oklahoma is Native America (The Edmond Sun 11/6)

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Phil Busey: Reach out to Oklahoma tribes (4/10)