After a few years away, I'm grateful to return to the State Chamber of Oklahoma, serving as its new president and CEO.
As I wrapped up my first full month on the job, I was quickly reminded that our state needs the strong, watchful presence of the State Chamber.
Its a precarious time for our state's economy: Falling energy prices and bleak economic forecasts will ripple through the private sector and put pressure on lawmakers to find additional revenue sources. The State Chamber's concern is that the first targets for tax increases will be Oklahoma job creators and businesses.
I've been working in Oklahoma's political circle for a long time, and I can tell you that we need to make sure the Legislature is playing the long game. Our economy is in for a rough ride, but we can't tolerate quick-fix tax increase that undermine the business community and threaten our state's prosperity.
Instead, we need to focus on diversifying the state's revenue streams and creating more opportunities for the growth of other industries. Most importantly, we need lawmakers to be fiscally responsible this session because the road ahead is filled with uncertainty.
Thankfully, Gov. Kevin Stitt and his team are well aware of the financial hardships facing our state. Last month, he called on lawmakers to be "very, very careful" in crafting a state budget. He understands and shares the concerns of our state's business community.
And rest assured, the State Chamber will be working with the Legislature to make sure the best interests of our members are protected during the turbulent times to come.
How are we going to do that? By being the most engaged, most helpful, go-to resource and collaborative partner that Oklahoma's leaders want o on their team. We will be the conveners, the coalition builders, and when necessary, the cajolers. We will remember the bottom line in the advocacy business: It's all about relationships, communication and engagement. And in those areas, we will be the very best.
I am honored to be given this tremendous opportunity and responsibility to represent the business community in Oklahoma. I know that working together we will be successful in ensuring that the voice of business is heard in all of the policy arenas that matter in Oklahoma.
Note: This article was first published in The Journal Record on March 13, 2020.