Right to work, pro-business reforms credited for Boeing announcement

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Published: 02-Aug-2010

Legislative leaders today celebrated the dramatic announcement that Boeing is moving some 500 jobs from California to Oklahoma. Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee of Oklahoma City says the work done by Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature is paying dividends already. House Speaker Chris Benge of Tulsa also cheered the news.


In a release sent Monday afternoon (August 2) to CapitolBeatOK, Coffee said, “We knew the passage of comprehensive tort reform two sessions ago, and the progress we made in reforming our workers compensation system this past session would get the attention of the business community around the nation.”


“Today’s announcement from Boeing that over 500 high-paying aeronautical jobs are moving from California to Oklahoma City is resounding affirmation of our work.”


Citing operating costs and the economic environment, Boeing on Monday announced that  it will relocate its C-130 Avionics Modernization and B-1 programs from Long Beach, California beginning in early 2011. About 550 positions will be relocated to Oklahoma City.

A Boeing spokesman said the relocation will allow the company to provide a more competitive cost structure for its customers.

“Independent organizations across the nation have praised Oklahoma’s moves in recent years to improve our business climate through tort reform and worker’s compensation reform,” Coffee continued. “Most recently, Pacific Research measured which states impose the highest, and the lowest, tort liability costs both in absolute and in relative terms, as well as tort litigation risks across states. It also examined which states have rules on the books that will reduce lawsuit abuse and tort costs, resulting in a more balanced, predictable, and affordable civil-justice system.”


According to that report, the state that has the best tort rules on the books-and that will be heading in the right direction if the rules are fully implemented-is Oklahoma, followed by Texas, Ohio, Colorado, and Mississippi. 


“I salute my colleagues in the Senate, as well as Speaker Chris Benge and Representative Dan Sullivan for their commitment to seeing these reforms become reality,” Coffee said. “And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge those members with whom I served in the minority, as well as former Governor Frank Keating for their leadership in passing Right to Work in Oklahoma.


“All involved have transformed Oklahoma from an after thought in economic development to leading the nation,” Coffee added. “And this is just the start.  I believe, just as we’ve bucked the national tide politically, that we will also reverse the national economic trends with the pro-business message we’re sending the nation. 


“Good times are coming our way,” Coffee concluded.


In his own statement, forwarded to CapitolBeatOK, Speaker Benge also hailed the news, saying, “We have fought hard in recent years to create a business climate that will attract economic activity and jobs to our state. Oklahoma is becoming a state that is seen as pro-growth and we hope that our state will increasingly be seen worldwide as a premiere place to do business.”


He concluded, “High tax states like California will continue to lose business as more companies are lured to pro-growth states like ours where they can be assured that profit is not a dirty word. Congratulations to Oklahoma City and the many other communities that will be affected by this announcement.”