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Senator Lauds Keating Conversion, Gov Finally Recognizes State's Attributes

OKLAHOMA CITY - Saying he's glad "Governor Keating has finally seen the light," a Senate leader is congratulating the State Chief Executive for recognizing Oklahoma's many economic attributes in the State Department of Commerce's new business recruitment site on the Internet.

"I don't know what caused his 11th hour conversion, but it's certainly good news for our economic development efforts," said Senator Cal Hobson, Vice-chairman of Senate Appropriations Committee. "Governor Keating has finally recognized publicly that Oklahoma is an economically competitive, low tax state with a favorable business climate. He even acknowledged that education is an economic development tool.

"Now if we can just get him to follow through with additional funding for schools this year, we'll be batting a thousand."

On the Commerce Department's Internet Homepage, Governor Keating urges industrial recruits to "visit our pro-business state," saying "it simply costs less to do business here." Keating then directs their attention to a series of informational pages detailing Oklahoma's recent economic growth, its low tax status, its low cost of living, its commitment to education and other positive statistics. Some of the highlights of the Keating/Commerce page include:

  • Oklahoma's wage and salary employment has grown seven consecutive years;
  • Oklahoma's tax and incentives package is now the most competitive in the U.S.;
  • Oklahoma's annual per capita state and local tax burden of $1,632 ranks 44th lowest in the U.S.;
  • Cost of Living: A recent survey of 40 major metro areas shows Oklahoma ranked as 3rd lowest in the U.S.;
  • Oklahoma has increased public education expenditures by 50% since 1990 as part of a comprehensive reform package. Test scores are up and significant results are being realized.

"I know Governor Keating and his people have spent a lot of time and energy trying to refute those favorable statistics. I hope they'll spend an equal amount of time and energy using those statistics to promote our state," said Senator Hobson.

"I'm especially encouraged by their recognition of education's role in economic development. It indicates that Governor Keating will be supportive of the Legislature's plan to invest an additional $218 million in education this year."

Another section of the Keating/Commerce page is subtitled "Business Taxation in Oklahoma." Some of the highlights include:

  • Oklahoma has stabilized its business and industry tax system to a greater degree than many older states;
  • Unemployment compensation tax rates have been reduced three times;
  • State business and tax incentives are available to both new and expanding Oklahoma companies;
  • State Question 640 , adopted in 1992, requires that either a 75% majority of the Legislature or a vote of the people is necessary to raise taxes.

"This should end the debate over our tax structure, once and for all," said Senator Hobson. "By the Keating administration's own admission, we have one of the most business-friendly tax systems in the country."

Before his latest statements on the Internet, Governor Keating had painted Oklahoma as a "third world economy" with a poor business climate in speeches and media briefings around the state.

"I'm glad Governor Keating has finally seen the light and recognized the many positive aspects about our economy and our education system. I think he'll be a much more effective job recruiter and state spokesman because of it," said Senator Hobson.

Visit the Department of Commerce website at


Contact info
Timothy S. Linville, Media Specialist, (405) 521-5698