Good Government

Curtis Shelton | December 10, 2021

Oklahoma’s pandemic response earns high marks

Curtis Shelton

Governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic varied greatly from state to state. What sorts of consequences did governmental actions have? A new study by Erik Randolph of the Georgia Center for Opportunity helps shed some light on how each state fared during the first year-and-a-half of the pandemic.

The paper states that “the severity of government actions was negatively associated with employment 12 months and 15 months after the initiation of the pandemic.” In other words, states that created more restrictions and regulations geared towards slowing the spread of COVID-19 saw worse economic outcomes. The paper also notes that while a greater severity of government action was associated with reduced COVID-19 cases, those actions did not appear to have any impact on the number of hospitalizations or deaths related to COVID-19.

Oklahoma ranked an encouraging 43rd and 45th in the two metrics used to measure the severity of government actions taken. Not surprisingly, then, the state ranked 11th and 13th in economic impact (with a higher ranking meaning a less-severe economic impact). Oklahoma’s measured approach to the pandemic helped the state’s economy recover faster and put it in position to capture more growth once the national economy began to pick back up as restrictions were lifted nationwide.

For the current fiscal year, Oklahoma’s state government has collected over 14 percent more in revenue compared to last year. This growth has given Oklahoma an excellent opportunity to capitalize on pursuing long term pro-growth reforms without fearing short-term shortfalls.

Priority one is further reducing the state’s penalty on work. This will keep in motion Oklahoma’s trend towards competing with some of the fastest-growing states in the country, such as Tennessee and Texas. It will also help Oklahoma residents mitigate any federal tax increases that are sure to come with the Biden administration's continued push for more government spending for unnecessary stimulus.

Curtis Shelton Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton

Policy Research Fellow

Curtis Shelton currently serves as a policy research fellow for OCPA with a focus on fiscal policy. Curtis graduated Oklahoma State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts in Finance. Previously, he served as a summer intern at OCPA and spent time as a staff accountant for Sutherland Global Services.

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