Press Releases

7.28.06 Gov. Henry, Contingency Review Board Approve Using Opportunity Fund to Secure MG Motors

Oklahoma City -- Ensuring that an international automobile company will locate in Oklahoma, Gov. Brad Henry today joined his fellow Contingency Review Board members in agreeing to use the recently created Opportunity Fund. It marks the first use of the fund, a powerful new economic development tool.

“This is a historic day in Oklahoma and a dramatic illustration of how the Opportunity Fund can be a major factor in strengthening our competitive edge,” said Gov. Henry.

The $20 million tapped from the fund is part of an agreement that will bring MG Motors North America/Europe headquarters to Oklahoma City and an assembly plant to Ardmore. A venture of Nanjing Automobile Corp., China’s oldest automaker, MG Motors will also boast a research component at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

The Opportunity Fund, a key initiative of the Governor’s, is designed to help boost the state’s competitiveness when trying to get new and expanding buusinesses to Oklahoma. The bulk of the $20 million will cover expansion of the Ardmore Airpark so that it can accommodate 747 cargo planes.

“There have been many times in the past that Oklahoma made the short list of contenders in job competition, but we were not able to react fast enough,” the Governor said.

“That is why I strongly pushed for an Opportunity Fund. It will give our economic development efforts additional flexibility to close deals. I hope today’s use of the Opportunity Fund is the first of many more occasions to create jobs and grow our economy.”

As part of the process, the state Commerce Department must first determine whether a proposed use of the Opportunity Fund meets certain economic development criteria. If that threshold is met, such proposals must be unanimously approved by the CRB. The board is comprised of the governor, speaker of the state House and state Senate president pro tempore.

MG Motors, which is reviving the historic British MG sports car, is slated to bring more than 500 jobs to Oklahoma with a payroll in excess of $30 million.