Tax Reformer Pilots Oklahoma to New HeightsPublished: Monday, July 25, 2016 By: Ron Starner Source: Site Selection Magazine
Site Selection: How have you managed to take your state to a point where it now ranks as having the sixth-lowest tax burden in the U.S.?
Gov. Fallin: In Oklahoma we know that keeping our tax burden low while still funding core services is important because it allows businesses to invest more of their earnings into employee salaries, inventory and business expansion. By instituting a modest and sensible tax reform, we have been able to stimulate Oklahoma's economy while helping the state to attract and retain businesses and jobs, not to mention letting hardworking Oklahomans keep more of their income.Tax reform during my tenure has reduced taxes from 5.5 percent to 5 percent, putting more than $1 billion back into the private sector. I believe that as we move forward, we will see more and more businesses choose Oklahoma for their operations, which means more job opportunities for Oklahomans and a more diverse economy.
SS: Oklahoma City and Tulsa currently rank as two of the 10 best places to start a business in the US. What policies have you championed to help foster this business environment for entrepreneurs?
Gov. Fallin: Small businesses are the backbone of Oklahoma's economy. Yes, we want to support business-friendly policies that help us recruit companies like GE and Macy's to the state, but we also focus on those policies to ensure that Oklahoma's entrepreneurs can get off the ground and succeed. We have made some incredible strides in tax reform and are now recognized as having the sixth-lowest tax burden in the nation. It is important that we're not only looking at incentives and tax reform, but that we also make it a priority to ensure the continuation of organizations such as i2E, Inc., an initiative of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, which works to connect start-up businesses with sources of capital and other investment.
SS: Oklahoma is positioning itself to be a national and global leader in unmanned aerial systems. What factors give your state a competitive edge in this emerging field?
Gov. Fallin: We were just named one of the top three drone-friendly states by DroneLife. Oklahoma has a long history in aerospace so it makes sense that our leadership role would extend to unmanned aerial systems. With more than 120,000 people employed in the aerospace industry, Oklahoma is a hotbed for a talented aerospace workforce.