OKLAHOMA CITY - The owners of the Seattle SuperSonics mounted a full-court press on Oklahoma lawmakers Wednesday to convince them to pass a tax incentive package that supporters say will help lure the NBA team to Oklahoma City. Lobbyists schmoozed lawmakers at the state Capitol and some received telephone calls and e-mails from Sonics owner Clay Bennett and other representatives of the ownership team a day before the state House is scheduled to consider final passage of legislation that will give the team a rebate on a portion of payroll taxes it will pay if it relocates. "I know what they're wanting," said Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, who said he planned to return phone calls from Bennett and Tom Price Jr., senior vice president of corporate development for Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy, owned by Sonics ownership partner Aubrey McClendon. "I want the Sonics here. I'm just not favorable to this sweetheart deal," Wesselhoft said. "We've been blackmailed from the beginning on this." Wesselhoft voted against the measure when the House voted 66-32 on Monday to send the bill to the Senate. The Senate passed the bill 27-21 on Tuesday after stripping it of House amendments and sent it back to the House. Rep. Charlie Joyner, R-Midwest City, who also voted against the bill, said he received an e-mail from Bennett that said the team might not come to Oklahoma City unless the House passes the tax incentive. "I just don't think this thing has been handled right. That's kind of holding legislators hostage," Joyner said. "I'm not anti-NBA, but this is not right." A spokesman for the Sonics, Dan Mahoney, declined comment on the lobbying effort. Bennett has filed a relocation request with the NBA and a subcommittee of three NBA owners plans to recommend approval when all 30 owners vote on the SuperSonics' request on Friday. State lawmakers are considering the tax package six weeks after Oklahoma City voters approved a sales tax extension to fund $121.6 million in improvements to a downtown arena and build a practice facility in hopes of luring the Sonics. The state legislation expands Oklahoma's Quality Jobs Program to include the NBA. It would permit the Sonics to receive a rebate of some of the payroll taxes paid by the team and places a reimbursement cap on the incentives not to exceed the top income tax rate in Oklahoma, currently 5.5 percent. The measure would also permit the company to receive rebates on the taxable payroll paid by players from opposing teams when they play in the city. If the team relocates, it will bring 170 jobs with a $74 million payroll to the state, officials have said. The rebate will be about $4 million a year and $60 million over its 15-year life. Opponents of the plan have said it is unnecessary because the team has already announced its intention to relocate and the team's millionaire owners do not need a tax break. "This is not what the quality Jobs Act was meant to be. I look at it as corporate welfare," Joyner said. David Glover, a citizen who has spoken out against the plan, urged lawmakers to oppose the Sonics deal. Glover carried a sign in the Capitol rotunda that resembled a check and was made out for more than $3.3 million. He said that is what Oklahoma taxpayers will rebate to the team each year for the salaries of 16 Sonics basketball players. "It will be by far the most money back for the least people ever," Glover said. Rep. Al Lindley, D-Oklahoma City, who voted against the plan on Monday, said Price urged him to vote yes in a telephone conversation. "He just wanted me to support the Sonics deal," Lindley said. But Lindley said Price did not indicate the team would not relocate if the tax incentive did not pass. "He just said it would help if it would be passed," Lindley said. "They're hitting the Democrats pretty hard because they probably need some." Lindley said he does not plan to change his vote. Rep. Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma, voted for the Sonics tax package after the House approved an amendment creating economic development incentives for rural areas like his northwestern Oklahoma district. But Hickman said he now plans to vote against it unless he receives a commitment from House leaders that rural economic development will become a priority. "We have some very serious issues involving rural areas that we need to talk about. I think the rural members are tired of being run over," Hickman said.