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Mazzei Minute: 07/14/23

The annual CNBC rankings for the top states for business are in, and unfortunately Oklahoma dropped three spots from 38th to 41st. Although I disagree with some of the CNBC social metrics, their comprehensive analysis which includes workforce, education, infrastructure, economy, cost of doing business, and cost of living is very methodical and informative.

Oklahoma’s only top ten rankings occur in the categories of cost of doing business and cost of living. The remainder highlights the need for state leaders to laser focus on reforms that will truly take us to top ten status.

As we have said repeatedly, Oklahoma will not achieve top ten status in this highly competitive global economy until we radically change our tax code and radically change our education system.

Just take a look at some of the top ten states in the CNBC rankings – Tennessee (#3), Texas (#6), Washington (#7), and Florida (#8) are all no personal income tax states. A pure no-income tax structure is not required as North Carolina (#1) and Utah (#9) prove, but their tax structures are still more business friendly than most. So, we had better get about the business of a totally different approach to taxes or Oklahoma will never be in the top ten.

Likewise, all of the top ten states have better education rankings than Oklahoma (#48). Until we get serious about better outcomes for reading proficiency, we will not have the next generation prepared for life, let alone the workforce. The Legislature just increased education funding by $650 million for school choice, teachers and schools, but unfortunately only $10 million was allocated for reading sufficiency.

The future economy demands a friendly environment for capital and well-trained workers. If we want our kids and grandkids to have a top ten economy, we must embrace major changes for our tax code and public schools.


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