Editor, The Transcript:
The state of Oklahoma’s budget shortfall issues are significant. At this stage, the only solution is to raise taxes and fees to generate increased revenue and/or cut services. As state costs for services increase, and new services introduced, budget shortfalls will require another tax and fee increase. This approach does nothing for the overall economy of the state, except to depress it further, resulting in a larger budget deficits or significant reduction in services.
Some government leaders address budget issues by recruiting new businesses, which in turn employ people who pay taxes in many ways, in addition to corporate taxes. Another approach is to attract visitors from outside the state to spend money in the state. Tourism departments focus on bringing in money from out-of-state visitors. Many of these approaches apply to a local community economy like Norman. These approaches should continue.
A new approach to improve the economic status of Oklahoma and local communities is related to the longevity economy issue driven by the fact people are living longer and staying productive past the normal retirement age. This economic “engine” is driven by the 50 and over citizens, often referred to as senior citizens.
It represents the collective economic impact by seniors, such as the sum of all economic activity driven by the needs of citizens aged 50 and older, including purchased products, services, taxes and workforce participation. Frequently, senior citizens are seen as a burden to a community.
Recent studies by Oxford Economics and AARP indicate that people over 50 years of age are only 35 percent of the U.S. population but contribute 43 percent of total U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In Oklahoma these numbers are 34 and 39 percent, respectfully. Studies also indicate that…