Morgan: Sticking together
In business and life, when things are going well, the tendency is to become complacent and assume we don’t need to do anything for it to continue. We forget the hard work it took to get into the position in the first place.
We see this complacency in politics and business. After years of fighting for bold policies like right to work and workers’ compensation reforms, there’s a feeling that the work is done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Oklahoma is in a global competition for jobs and capital. Other states are more competitive with forward-thinking policies.
Why is Oklahoma working at the edges instead of advancing revolutionary ideas for long-term results? We need an education system that enables all students to get their dream jobs. We need significant investment in upgrades to the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, our highways and bridges for manufacturers to ship goods. We need to address our state’s water needs to mitigate future droughts.
Instead, we see attacks against the business community in the form of new regulations, fee increases and elimination of targeted tax cuts and incentives that spur investment and create jobs. Because these efforts are aimed at a specific industry, there’s a feeling by the rest of the business community that it’s not their fight.
Any attack on one industry is an attack on all business. It is important for everyone to engage. Last year oil and natural gas companies had to fight for a tax structure promoting continued investment in the state. This year, the wind industry is the target for tax increases that will dampen investment. Who knows what’s next.
The chamber is the voice of business at the state Capitol, but we need to have that voice amplified by businesses large and small. Let lawmakers know where you stand. Tell them policies that hurt one industry have ripple effects on every industry. Explain how adding more regulations hurts your business.
The business community isn’t a series of separate silos that don’t interact; it’s a complex web of connections. We can’t be complacent that a bill affecting one industry won’t affect all others down the road. We must continue to work – together – for policies that continue Oklahoma’s economy moving forward.
This article was posted in The Journal Record as part of Fred Morgan's monthly opinion editorial.