The Pryor Times

Opinion

October 31, 2013

Tribal impact

PRYOR, OK — Oklahomans have a proud Native American heritage. There are 38 federally recognized tribes within our state whose jurisdictions cover three-fourths of the eastern half of Oklahoma. These 38 tribes have nearly 483,000 citizens living and working within the state, which represents nearly 13 percent of our statewide population. Their activities are based substantially in rural areas in a state that is continually urbanizing, providing necessary jobs for rural Oklahomans.

Here are some interesting facts about the economic impact of the tribes:

— Oklahoma tribes employ 53,747 individuals

— Last year, the tribes made direct payroll contributions of $1.54 billion to Oklahoma residents, an average of $27,610 per employee

— Tribal operations in Oklahoma, including gaming, professional services and other retail, generated $5.6 billion in revenues last year – a significant source of direct economic output within the state.

In addition to the economic impact, the tribes contribute to our transportation infrastructure. Over the years the tribes have constructed and maintained 11,288 road miles throughout Eastern Oklahoma.

The Native American tribes are historically and culturally woven into the fabric of our state. Some are native to our state and the rest have called Oklahoma home since the mid-1800s. While their business activities are fueled largely by gaming, the tribes are diversifying into other activities such as professional services. As businesses come and go in Oklahoma, the tribes are firmly rooted here and are likely to maintain a constant business presence partnering with the state in long term growth.

Many thanks to the Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University for providing me with the economic impact facts above.

It is a pleasure to serve as your state

representative. I can be reached at dougcox@okhouse.gov or 405-557-7415.

 

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