What's Wrong With Oklahoma?

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 18 April 2018 13:22

As the two-week Oklahoma teacher's strike ended last week, it's clear that the rabidly red state has some serious problems, namely that oil money doesn't trickle down like economics are supposed to. Ignoring the benefits of its central location, relatively mild climate and abundant natural resources, Oklahoma stubbornly refuses to make its state attractive to any business except oil.

Take the wind industry, for example. Once on track to be the number one source of wind-generated energy by 2030, according to the Department of Commerce, Oklahoma decided instead to cut the industry's last tax incentive in 2017 in House Bill 2298. Meanwhile, oil and gas production tax rates have plummeted, from an average seven percent to two percent for new wells for the first three years, according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

At 7 percent, Oklahoma's tax rate is well below that of other major energy states, says the OPI, compared to 8.3 percent in Texas and North Dakota, 13.3 percent in Louisiana, and 13.4 percent in Wyoming, according to a 2017 report by the Covenant Group.

According to forecasts from the Oklahoma Tax Commission the new subsidy will cost Oklahoma $333 million in lost gross production tax revenue, says the OPI. Are oil companies going to refuse to drill if they have to pay 7 percent? And if it's causing such a shortfall that teachers have to march to get lawmakers attention, isn't that a good enough reason to review the governor's budget?

And that brings us back to the teachers. According to The Guardian, Oklahoma ranks 49th in state teacher pay. The state offered teachers a raise just in time to stop the strike, but the teachers soldiered on because they are striking for the children. State spending per pupil has dropped by 26.9 percent since 2008 and is also the last time teachers got a raise. Students are making do in many areas with outdated and duct-taped schoolbooks, four-day school weeks and school closings.

Legislaters fight back with a Catch-22 - the budget shortfall doesn't allow the state to meet the teachers' demands. What the lawmakers fail to realize is that catering to the oil and gas industry is preventing other jobs from coming to Oklahoma, which is starving the mostly rural state.

One of the three busiest trucking highways in the nation goes smack through the middle of the state, I-40, coming east from Memphis, Federal Express's hub, and west from Barstow, California, outside of Los Angeles and a major highway intersection of I-15, California State Route 58, U.S. Route 66 and I-40. Intersecting with I-75 at Henryetta, Oklahoma, and I-35 in Oklahoma City, 1-40 creates a nice triangle to and from Dallas, home to DFW international airport. Yet, when one drives through Henryetta, there's little commerce, just fast food restaurants and a duck decoy manufacturer. Nearly equidistant to Tulsa and Oklahoma City, it just doesn't make sense why Henryetta isn't a huge town, teeming with manufacturing, packaging and shipping jobs, but to date, its only claim to fame is as the birthplace of Troy Aikman.

The trickle down of poo continues with the housing industry. According to Zillow, the median home value in Oklahoma is $116,900, less than half the national median and the median list price per square foot in Oklahoma is $99. And yet, nearly 12 percent of OK homeowners are underwater on their mortgages.

Californians, foreign investors and retirees smell the blood in the water. You can buy property cheaply, pay almost nothing in property taxes (another problem) and live like it's 1970. Just don't expect any updates.

Rate this item
(3 votes)
Blanche Evans

"Blanche Evans is a true rainmaker who brings prosperity to everything she touches.” Jan Tardy, Tardy & Associates

I have extensive and award-winning experience in marketing, communications, journalism and art fields. I’m a self-starter who works well with others as well as independently, and I take great pride in my networking and teamwork skills.

Blanche founded evansEmedia.com in 2008 as a copywriting/marketing support firm using Adobe Creative Suite products. Clients include Petey Parker and Associates, Whispering Pines RV and Cabin Resort, Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS®, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Prudential California Realty, MLS Listings of Northern California, Tardy & Associates, among others. See: www.evansemagazine.com, www.ggarmarketclick.com and www.peteyparkerenterprises.com.

Contact Blanche at: blanche@evansemedia.com

evansEmedia.com

Agent Resource

How to capture your next prospect - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.