The Quality Jobs program is a state tax incentive program that provides a quarterly cash payment to qualified companies of up to 5 percent of new taxable payroll. The incentive targets manufacturers and certain other industries that have a new payroll investment of $2.5 million or more, with a lower payroll threshold for certain industries and for companies located in targeted areas. Qualifying companies must meet wage requirements of the lower of the average county wage or the state index wage, and must provide their employees with health insurance. In most cases, companies qualifying for the Quality Jobs program are ineligible for the Investment/New Jobs credit.
The Quality Jobs program was created in 1993. Through the end of FY 2014, the Quality Jobs Program had paid out over $955 million. Quality Jobs payments increased from $50 million in 2010 to a peak of $80 million in 2015 before falling to $56 million in 2016. Oil and gas companies were made eligible to receive Quality Jobs payments in 2005, and in fiscal year 2013 they received over 53 percent of incentive payments, compared to 28 percent for manufacturing companies.
The Legislature has created several complementary programs, including the 21st Century Quality Jobs Program and the Small Employer Quality Jobs Program.
In a 2017 report, the Incentive Evaluation Commission concluded that “In recent history, the program has performed well in terms of economic impact and appears to be a net benefit to the State,” while recommending several reforms to improve the program.