A Legislative leader is urging Oklahoma business recruiters to take the advice of Knight Kiplinger to heart and use it to help attract new jobs to the state.
During a speech in Oklahoma City this week, the nationally-recognized business analyst downplayed Oklahoma's per capita income ranking, saying the state's low cost of living and high quality of life more than compensated for any perceived shortcomings in personal income. Kiplinger also lauded the state's steady "workhorse" economy and its low business costs.
"That's the same message we've been preaching for years. Now that one of the most respected business analysts in the country is singing the same tune, maybe the skeptics in Oklahoma will take it to heart and use the information to promote our state," said Senator Kelly Haney, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"You can't buy positive economic publicity like this. When an objective, respected observer like Kiplinger applauds your state's business climate, industrial prospects around the country sit up and take notice. It's up to our economic recruiters to capitalize on the endorsement and translate it into new jobs."
In discussions with reporters, Kiplinger said there was a great misconception about the state's economy, noting some in Oklahoma had placed too much emphasis on personal income comparisons without considering the positive impact of the state's low cost of living and its inexpensive labor and energy costs. He called such comparison's "meaningless," adding Oklahomans need to look at the whole economic picture, not just a small fraction of it.
Kiplinger also admonished officials who have compared Oklahoma's economic climate unfavorably to Texas, calling the comparisons "ridiculous." He said "in many categories, Oklahoma has a healthier economy and a healthier society than its neighbor to the south. Texas has a lot of hidden taxes that add to the cost of doing business there."
"That's what we've been telling our Governor for almost three years now, but he still isn't convinced that Oklahoma is a better place to live than Texas. In many ways, Knight Kiplinger is a better salesman for Oklahoma than Frank Keating. I want the Governor to be as proud of our state as Mr. Kiplinger is," said Senator Haney.
Kiplinger also counseled Oklahoma to invest in the things high-tech industries value, namely education, in order to compete for the best jobs of tomorrow.
"Lawmakers and business leaders have been trying to push the state in that direction in recent years, despite some reluctance from the executive branch. Hopefully, after all the advice we've gotten from experts like Kiplinger, even the Governor's office will be willing to invest in proven job creation tools like education," said Senator Haney.