PRYOR, Okla. (KTUL) — It was probably accidentally left downtown during one of those super-secret meetings about building a massive battery plant nearby -- a telltale book we found in Pryor's only bookstore, "How to Profit by Rehabilitating Real Estate."
"So, we have Project Ocean," said Chris Hardy.
Over at City Hall, Mayor GT Bynum has signed a non-disclosure agreement promising to keep things hush-hush.
"I’ve met with the Ocean Project three times," said Larry Lees.
But over at the State House, lawmakers were a little less cloak and dagger about the $698 million initiative.
"We all know that it's Panasonic," said Rep. Tom Gann, who also made it very clear that he's no fan of the proposal.
"And so, I’m wondering philosophically, why we need to be giving money to a corporation, a multi-national corporation, that doesn’t need it?" he said.
"In an ideal world, I would say ideally, we wouldn’t have state incentives; ideally, nobody would, and you wouldn’t have to put these packages together and that would be the case, but unfortunately, it is the world we live in. It’s very competitive," said Rep. Kyle Hilbert.
Do you feel like we’re in a race with Kansas? "Yes, yes absolutely," said Rep. John Waldron.
He voted in favor of the initiative, which he points out isn't simply money for the taking.
"We’re not actually spending $700 million dollars, we’re offering $700 million in tax rebates, which means the money has to be spent and invested in the state first for them to qualify," he said.
"It would require a minimum capital expenditure of $3.06 billion dollars and job requirements, full-time job requirements, year one 500 jobs, year two a thousand jobs, year three 2,500 jobs and year four and five, 4,000 jobs. If those job metrics are not hit then the company would no longer qualify for the rebate," said Rep. Hilbert.
Project Ocean passed the House and is now on to the Senate, and who knows, years from now there could be a book about it at Chris Hardy's store.
"If it does happen it's good for our kids, good for our schools," said Hardy.