Rich states, poor states, and Oklahoma’s business growth

April 24, 2018

Cody Ray Milner

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) last week released its 11th edition of Rich States, Poor States. The economic policy report examines the growth potential for each of the 50 states and ranks them accordingly. The study offers a forward-looking forecast based on a state’s standing (equal-weighted average) in the 15 policy variables shown in the chart below. The chart, taken directly from the report, also shows how Oklahoma fares in each area.

Oklahoma has a tradition of high rankings in this study. This year, Oklahoma comes in 16th in the Economic Outlook Rankings – well in the top half of states, but also significantly lower than its 10th place ranking in 2016. Oklahoma’s run as a destination for entrepreneurs and workers fleeing more oppressive states is thanks to high marks in several categories.

In several other policy areas, Oklahoma could do much better. Improvement in these areas could help diversify the economy, encourage businesses to form or relocate here, and spur job creation.

This year’s state legislative battles focused on public service departments and criminal justice reform, but the engine of every economy is small business growth and job creation. A feature of the federal system is that states may serve as laboratories for policy experiments. Oklahomans can have plenty of opportunities to enact pro-growth tax and fiscal policies, and continue to make our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family.


2018 Rich States, Poor States Report