Tuesday, July 19, 2011
TULSA – Oklahoma must come up with exotic industries to become the go-to place for business, Gov. Mary Fallin said.
Fallin spoke to a sold-out audience of 760 people from the Tulsa regional business community during the Tulsa Metro Chamber’s annual State of the State address Monday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Tulsa.
“All states have about the same things they offer business to come to their state,” she said. “They all have tax incentives or use higher education or cash-back offers.”
In order to stand out, the state needs to create a game changer – something that is distinctive to Oklahoma and no other state, Fallin said.
One exotic business niche that the state should target is the unmanned aerial vehicle sector, she said.
“One such area today is the unmanned aerial systems program,” Fallin said. “Aerospace remains a key industry for our state, with more than 500 aerospace companies offering potential for growth and economic impact.”
Partnerships between the military and private sector are working to develop the unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, Fallin said.
She said in January, Oklahoma State University and the OSU Multispectral Laboratories in Ponca City signed a memorandum of understanding for the development and possible use of unmanned aerial systems to assist the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in inspecting instrument landing and navigation systems. The work also involves the U.S. Air Force, according to an OSU website.
“We are pushing for a plan that will make Oklahoma the ‘go-to’ place for research and development,” Fallin said.
Fallin pounded the lectern as she touched on accomplishments in education, energy, workers’ comp reform, lawsuit reform, health and transportation during the 45-minute address.
She also said there is a need to stand against Washington, D.C., policies that hurt the economies of the states.
“I will lead the charge against Washington about how these rules and regulations are destroying jobs and wrecking the economy,” Fallin said.
Fallin, referring to a question about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental rules on haze, ozone and hydraulic fracturing, said the EPA is a disaster.
“It is important we have a balance of policies to protect the environment, but the EPA is stifling innovation and job creation,” she said.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on May 31 filed a lawsuit against the EPA over its rejection of a state plan to address emissions from aging coal plants. Pruitt claimed the federal agency violated its own rules when it refused to accept Oklahoma’s plan to reduce regional haze in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
“The federal government has to hear from the states how these policies are affecting the states,” Fallin said.
Fallin is touring a number of other states to thank business leaders for bringing jobs to Oklahoma. For example, she plans to visit the Chicago area to see Navistar Inc., which has some operations in Oklahoma.
“People ask, ‘Why you going to Illinois when they have raised taxes?’” Fallin said, “We are going to Illinois because they have raised their taxes while at the same time we have cut ours.”
Oklahoma cut income taxes a fourth of 1 percent this past legislative session.
By: D. RAY TUTTLE, The Journal Record