Oklahoma business climate ranks in top ten

Wednesday, December 1st 2004, 9:56 am
By: News On 6

A study by one of the country's top business site locators has ranked Oklahoma as one of the top 10 pro-business states.

The Pollina group looked at factors that can be controlled by state government, things like income tax, education funding, and financial incentives.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says it's certainly good news for Tulsa, which has suffered more job cuts than most. But there are signs that Oklahoma will be ‘OK.’

The stage is hopefully set for a comeback as the study ranks Oklahoma as number 10 in the country for pro-business state. "We went through the same process they did 15 months ago and we came to similar conclusions, only I guess our ranking was higher." Bill Lobeck, the former head of Tulsa-based Dollar Thrifty, decided to move his Florida-based Vanguard car rental company to Tulsa, and convinced his board of directors to do it. "We've just got to recognize how good we are and start telling people that. This is a good place to raise a family and a great place to run a business and we're bashful about telling people that."

The study says Oklahoma ranked well in unemployment insurance rates, corporate income tax rates, and with incentives like the quality jobs program.

On the negative side, it says Oklahoma needs big improvement on workers compensation, individual income tax, and education funding. "Those are big issues for us and as we continue to solve those issues, we'll continue to go up in the rankings even more." Jay Clemens with the Tulsa Area Chamber of Commerce says our good ranking overall though is something they can promote. "This will go on our list, our community's resume as we're selling Oklahoma and Tulsa."

Oklahoma's negative image or simply lack of an image is still seen as a problem. Lobeck, who runs companies all over the country, has seen it. "It's been y'know that they're surprised we wear shoes, y'know. They can't believe. They think of Oklahoma as flat, dusty, plains, cowboys, absolutely not true."