A ranking of the top ten “business friendly” states by the Pollina Corporate Real Estate, Inc., shows that Oklahoma is in dire need of economic reforms, a Republican senator said Tuesday.
“We should all be promoting the positives of this report and our top ten ranking, but Oklahoma’s lack of workers comp reform, lack of comprehensive lawsuit reform, and our high income tax rate are big reasons why we still rank near the bottom nationally in job growth and wages,” stated Sen. Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow.
Oklahoma ranked number ten in this year’s survey – a drop from number three just a year ago.
“The biggest reason for the drop from number three to number 10 in just one year is Oklahoma’s extremely poor rating on workers compensation rates, which the Pollina report ranks as 39th nationally,” said Pruitt.
Oklahoma’s workers compensation system encourages litigation, which makes it a boon for trial lawyers, but a bust for employers and injured workers.
The Pollina report gives Oklahoma high marks for targeted tax incentives, an abundance of quasi-governmental economic development organizations, and low costs for real estate and living expenses.
“The great fear is that the governor’s office or the Senate Democrat leadership might use the Pollina ranking as an excuse to oppose meaningful workers comp reform – or to pass a watered-down version of the legislation that does little or nothing to get our economy moving,” Pruitt stated.
“Despite our number ten ranking as a business friendly state, we ranked 48th in job creation. This is unacceptable, and is further evidence that the Oklahoma Legislature needs to enact significant reforms in 2005,” he concluded.