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Senator Lankford Touts Oklahoma Economic Progress In Floor Speech

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today delivered a floor speech about the improving economy in Oklahoma and across America, in part, due to tax reform.



(00:00-00:48) I talk to a lot of Oklahomans who say we like to hear good news every once in a while. So, let me just pause and read a couple of headlines and give good news. One of them came out of the Oklahoma legislature and out of our research branch dealing with our finances. Oklahoma revenues are up to the state 20 percent higher than what was expected. Now, for folks in this chamber that don’t know what’s happening in Oklahoma, our economy has been down for a couple of years. We’re struggling through some serious issues in the budget. For our revenue to be up 20 percent higher than what was expected was a surprise, but a welcome surprise. And it’s a real sign in the turnaround in the Oklahoma economy, and it’s very good news for a lot of people.

(00:49-1:56) But I’m grateful to also say it’s not isolated news. This is happening nationwide with a real turnaround in the nation’s economy. I don’t often come to this floor and quote the New York Times, but let me do that today. The New York Times, just a couple of days ago, ran the headline “We ran out of words to describe how good the job numbers are.” This is just the first couple of paragraphs of their story. They said the real question analyzing the May job numbers released that week was whether there are enough synonyms for “good” in an online thesaurus for us to describe them adequately. So, for example, “splendid” and “excellent” fit the bill. These are the kinds of terms that are appropriate when the United States economy adds 223,000 jobs in a month. Despite having been nine years into an expansion, and when the unemployment rate falls to 3.8 percent, a new 18-year low. That’s from the New York Times. They’ve run out of words to describe how good the economy is nationwide.

(2:40-3:12) During the height of the recession just a few years ago, there were six people looking for work for every one job open. Now there is at least one job, at least one job open, for every single person in America. Unemployment fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest in 17 years. Consumer confidence hitting an 18-year high. There have been remarkable turnarounds that have. This is a nice, strong, steady increase in our economy.

(4:44-6:06) There are a lot of things still be able to do in our economy and I’m grateful that recently the national survey that’s done every year on the best places in America to be able to start a new business listed Oklahoma City number one of all places in the country to be able to start a new business, a place where it’s business-friendly. That’s true for my entire state where people are welcome to be able to come and start new businesses, to be able to engage and to be able to find a job and to open up and find new opportunities. Speaking of opportunities, my state along with many other states, have started rolling out from the tax reform bill what’s called the Opportunities Zones, looking for areas of the state that are not growing as fast as other areas and providing incentives that was built into the tax bill to be able to say let’s designate areas, working with the state leaders, to be able to identify what area there can be greater investment. And in those particular areas for people to be able to find jobs, start new business, open new businesses. There’s additional incentives to do that and we’ve seen that and continue to be able to roll out. Forty-six states so far have designated opportunities zones, and they’re already rolling out even today. I’m grateful for what’s happening in our economy because it’s not about numbers and statistics. It’s about individual families that have the opportunity to be able to find work.