|Consultants Rank Oklahoma Tenth Overall, Noting its Incentive and Work Force Development Programs
|Oklahoma ranked tenth overall among the Top States for Doing Business. The state also ranked fifth for both its incentives programs and as a leader in work force development programs, and also tied for fifth as one of the states leading in the economic recovery. Those standings are a testament to the fact that Oklahoma has continued to strive to improve its economic development platform and remove impediments that have been standing in the way of business expansion.
Area Development Special Presentation (Fall 2012)
Full Results: 2012 Top States for
Earlier this year, legislators made strides on several important economic development initiatives, including funding the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund. Legislators worked to continue to lower costs to employers in workers' compensation with a new initiative to suspend pending workers' compensation proceedings in the case of suspected fraud. "We anticipate that workers' compensation reforms that have been passed will result in lower insurance premiums for businesses as cases filed under the previous guidelines are completed," says Donald R. Hackler, Jr., deputy general counsel and public information officer for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
Doing Business Survey
2. South Carolina
5. North Carolina
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7. North Carolina
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8. North Carolina
Another notable initiative in the past year is Governor Mary Fallin's "Fallin for Business" survey that polled more than 5,300 existing business owners across the state. The survey results are being provided to legislative leaders to help frame issues for the next legislative session.
Two key economic development resources for Oklahoma are the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program, which provides incentives for job creation, and the Pooled Finance Program, which helps finance the expansion of business enterprises. One new program that will go into effect on November 1st is the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund. "In addition to our low cost of doing business and the incentives we offer, we have made improvements in the development of our work force for the new jobs and opportunities that our available," says Hackler.
Oklahoma's energy sector has played a key role in the state's position as one of the leaders in economic recovery. The state sits on a large reserve of natural gas. That position has been advantageous in fostering growth. The state also is working on initiatives, such as promoting the purchase of natural-gas-fueled vehicles, which have the added benefit of improving the country's energy independence.
Aerospace is another important growth industry for the state, and Oklahoma offers incentives, such as the Aerospace Engineer Workforce Tax Credit. "The aerospace and energy sectors, as well as manufacturing, are very important to the continued growth of the state and these sectors have all helped in the recovery of Oklahoma," adds Hackler.