State Sen. Says Okla.’s Slow Growth Shows Need for Lawsuit Reform

December 27, 2005

Oklahoma Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, is calling for lawsuit and tax reform, as well as more workers’ compensation reform, to help jumpstart economic growth in the state.

Coffee noted that Oklahoma’s population grew at a paltry 0.7 percent during the past year – far more slowly than most of its neighboring states and below the national average, according to new data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Oklahoma’s slow-growing population is just the latest indication that we’re falling behind our neighboring states in the competition for people, jobs and businesses,” Coffee stated.

Coffee said the Oklahoma Legislature needs to act quickly on issues like lawsuit reform, tax reform, and additional workers’ compensation reform to attract more jobs and people to the state.

“People move to where the jobs are. Oklahoma’s national reputation as a haven for lawsuit abuse, our state’s high income tax rates, and our state government’s historical anti-business bias are hindering our ability to grow and prosper,” Coffee said.

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released this week, Oklahoma’s population growth of 0.7 percent ranked 30th in the nation – and Oklahoma was tied for the second-slowest growth compared to its neighboring states.

“After the 2000 census, Oklahoma was the only state west of the Mississippi River to lose a congressional seat. We’re risking losing another congressman in 2010 or 2020 if we don’t take immediate and meaningful steps to make our state more attractive to investment and job growth,” Coffee said.

Among Oklahoma and its neighbors, Texas’ population grew the fastest at 1.7 percent between July 1, 2004 and July 1, 2005 – more than twice Oklahoma’s population growth rate. Colorado was second in population growth in the region (1.4 percent), followed by New Mexico (1.3 percent) and Arkansas (1.1 percent). Oklahoma and Missouri tied for next-to-last in growth (0.7 percent) in the area, with Kansas at the bottom (0.4 percent).

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