Monday, March 15, 2010

California's Grapes of Wrath: Oklahoma's Growth, Beautiful Homes, Rolling Hills

A March 11th report says California's jobless rate was 12.5% in January. In 8 of the state's counties the rate is 20%. Michael Roston at True/Slant points out it's Grapes of Wrath in reverse. The State of Oklahoma with beautiful homes and verdant rolling hills is growing and the people were smart enough to give President Obama his biggest rejection in the 2008 elections - even with a Democrat Governor.

Grapes of Wrath

From the L.A. Times:
New county-by-county figures released by the state wednesday show that in eight counties, more than 1 in 5 people were out of work. Moreover, revised numbers for last year show that fewer people were employed than was previously believed.
Jobless rate by counties:
Los Angeles 12.3% (January)
Orange 10.1% (February)
Inland Empire 14.1 (January)
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario - 15% (January)
Merced - 21.7%
Imperial - 27.3%

By contrast, jobless rates in Oklahoma's two largest cities:
Tulsa Metro: 6.8%
Oklahoma City Metro: 6.4%

Stephen Levy, the director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy is perplexed and mystified California is not seeing job growth. Maybe this is a clue:
February 19, 2009: The budget deal the Legislature reached today will keep California's top personal income tax rate and sales tax rate the highest in the Union.
The agreement will raise personal income tax rates by 0.25 of a percentage point across the board, beginning with the current tax year. The highest rate, on taxable income of more than $1 million, will rise to 10.55% from 10.3%
The next-highest tax rate, on taxable income of more than $94,110 for a married couple filing jointly, will rise to 9/55% from 9.3%. For singles, the threshold for the 9.55% tax rate is $47,055.
As for sales taxes, the budget deal will push California's base rate to 8.25% from the current 7.25%. Those rates don't include taxes added by individual cities and counties.
Here is a snippet from an interesting comment on the LATimes article:
I was flabbergasted by your folly to al but idle the Central Valley last summer over some small fish [Delta Smelt]. By now you should be canning what you gathered in, selling what you produced worldwide, filling granaries worldwide (again) with your bounty, getting the lands ready for another bumper yield, refurbishing your water supplies, gathering in the winter wheat, and refertilizing the fields for another simply glorious harvest which the almighty has enabled you to do better than almost any other areas anywhere.
When you live in Oklahoma, and consider the state home, no matter your roots, you take a lot of teasing but it's not difficult to square-your-shoulders and put on your "what-you-don't-know is pitiful" face. We don't have oceans and our mountains are smaller, but not small. Of 4 primary mountain ranges, two are considered "major" mountainous regions falling between the Rockies and the Applachians [the Ozarks and the Quachitas]. We have, however, very tall "hills."

We are among the most geographically diverse states with are one of four home to more than 10 distince ecological regions within our borders - more per square mile than in any other state - 8 of these regions in the eastern portion of the state.

We have gorgeous lakes and 55,646 miles of shoreline.  The Eastern portion of the state, where Tulsa is located, 90 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, is green and lush with rolling hills...no dry, dusty or red soil in the Tulsa area. Tulsa has some of the most beautiful homes to be found in any land-locked state, and the prices per-square footage are amazingly low, in exceptional neighborhoods.

Both Tulsa and Oklahoma City were ranked in the Top Ten Best Places to Live 2009. We have tornadoes but we do not have earthquakes. We have beautiful sunsets, hot summers but not nearly as hot as many places, and in general our winters have a couple of harsh cold snaps with ice and snow, and it's over. Golf courses are busy all winter in many places in Oklahoma.

We have one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, and we rank among the top states in per capital income growth. We are 2nd-largest producer of natural gas, the 5th-largest producer of crude oil and we are proud to be home the 2nd-largest number of active drilling rigs. Without oil production, and where would this country be? Our energy costs are the 10th-lowest in the nation. Those employed in the oil-gas sector, average an income of twice the state's typical annual income. Oklahoma City is home to the 4 largest private-oil-related companies in the nation. All of the state's Fortune 500 companies are energy related.

We do not have the worst schools in the nation, as some might think, and any discerning parent can get their child into a good performing school. Contrary to popular belief, we are NOT the most obese state in the union, and our children's "fattness" falls 33rd among all states. Oklahoma University and Tulsa University rank among the nation's best for academic ratings. Six of our state universities were among Princeton Review's list of 122 regional colleges in 2007. Oklahoma is proud of some of the finest athletes and athletic programs in the country.

We cannot buy wine or beer in grocery stores in Oklahoma. It's an embarrassing flaw that voters can't seem to fix. We have to endure it, but...we have Quik Trips...the best convenience stores to be found anywhere on earth. Southern Living magazine likes Oklahoma homes.

Related: The Lonely Conservative asks Where's the Shovel Ready Jobs?

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton