Monday, August 1, 2011
It is often said by Oklahomans that our state is the country’s “best kept secret.” With our great people, our low cost of living, beautiful landscape and abundance of natural resources, Oklahoma is a wonderful place to call home. Our economy is strong as well, and in recent months, I’ve worked with our legislature to pass legislation that will make Oklahoma even more prosperous, building a business climate that’s ripe for job growth and investment.
As the numbers show, Oklahoma and its economy are continuing to grow at a steady pace, even while the national economy continues to struggle. While the national unemployment rate hovers near 10 percent, Oklahoma’s has fallen to just 5.3 percent, a 28-month low. And while federal legislators struggle to restore anything resembling fiscal sanity to the nation’s capitol, Oklahoma not only has a balanced budget, but is filling its reserve fund. Last month alone saw $219 million added to the Rainy Day Fund, the largest single deposit since 2005.
So, in more ways than one, Oklahoma stands out as a beacon of hope during troubled times – a great place to raise a family, to start a business, or to find a good job.
As I’ve said, our success has been a secret that we’ve been keeping from the rest of the country for too long. That’s why I am spending as much time as I can this summer spreading the word and sharing with everyone what I like to call, “the Oklahoma Story.”
It’s a story of prosperity, success and upward momentum, and it’s one that businesses across the country have been excited to hear!
I recently brought that story to an international wind energy conference in Anaheim, California. I told the business leaders there that Oklahoma was on pace to become the second largest wind-energy producer in the country by 2030. And by the end of that conference, Siemens Energy, an international wind power firm, was announcing the creation of a new plant and 40 jobs in Woodward, Oklahoma.
I also took the Oklahoma story to the BIO convention in Washington, D.C., where scientists, researchers, academics and businessmen in the field of bio-science had gathered to promote their work. I shared with them the news that three Oklahoma research institutions had been listed in The Scientist magazine’s list of the best 40 places for academics to work in the country.
In Chicago I met with several firms and touted Oklahoma as the place to expand operations in the United States. As CNBC reports, we have the number one lowest cost of living in the country and the number three lowest cost of doing business. Business Insider ranks both Oklahoma City and Tulsa as top ten cities in the country having an “awesome” recovery. And ChiefExecutive.net saw the state leap from just the nineteenth best state in the nation for business to the eleventh, the single largest jump forward for any state.
Oklahoma is not lacking in awards or recognition for its great business climate and its quality of life. Family Circle magazine lists Edmond as one of the nation’s “Best Towns for Families.” The AARP awarded Tulsa the number two best place for seniors to retire. Bartlesville has been named one of the top ten small markets of the decade. The list goes on, and it includes countless Oklahoma communities, cities and small towns.
All Oklahomans should take pride in these accomplishments. They are all part of the Oklahoma Story. It is my pleasure and my honor to tell that story to as many people as will listen as I work to bring businesses and investors to Oklahoma and to support the creation of quality private sector jobs.
I’m happy to say that Oklahoma is a state on the rise, and people across the world are taking notice.
By Governor Mary Fallin