At midmonth, CNBC announced its rankings of America’s Top States for Business in 2023. And Oklahoma finished second – from the bottom – in Life, Health & Inclusion. Only Texas, with its exploding population, ranked as a worse state to live.

          CNBC assessed, “livability factors like per capita crime rates, environmental quality, and health care. We look at worker protections. We look at inclusiveness in state laws, including protections against discrimination of all kinds, as well as voting rights.”

          Affordable, quality childcare is also figured in as are reproductive rights since “a sizeable percentage of women (consider) reproductive rights in deciding where they are willing to live and work,” not a plus in a state where Republican misogyny is a headline staple.

          Official attitudes trickle down to a personal level, too. Or do they reflect them? In March, Meghan Mosley of KOCO-TV reported: “More women are killed by men (they know) in Oklahoma than in almost any other state.

          “Per capita, Oklahoma has the third highest rate of that particular crime.”

          The constant war against public education by our GOP governor and state school superintendent have “led” Oklahoma to third from the bottom in CNBC’s education ranking. Only Alaska (49th) and Nevada graded worse.

          According to CNBC, “A state’s education system is its main source of talent and an engine of innovation. It is also a key consideration for companies and families deciding where to put down roots.”

          And CNBC does not address the censorship efforts and Christian nationalist nonsense that Supt. Ryan Walters advocates.

          Poor living conditions and a lousy education system don’t offer an attractive picture to prospective businesses.  In fact, they swamp Oklahoma’s best ranking: third – from the top! – in Business Friendliness to give the state an overall business ranking of 41st. Business Friendliness “includes a legal and regulatory framework that does not overburden business. We measure each state’s lawsuit and liability climates, regulatory regimes covering areas such as trade and labor, as well as overall bureaucracy. We also consider how hospitable states are toward emerging industries including crypto-currency and cannabis.”

          Thank you, pot growers?

          CNBC gave the state the following letter grades: Workforce, D+; Infrastructure, B-; Economy, C-; Life, Health & Inclusion, F; Cost of Doing Business, A+; Technology and Innovation, D; Business Friendliness, C+; Education, D-; Access to Capital, C; Cost of Living, A+.

          The bias toward business by CNBC is reflected in that C+ for Business Friendliness – where we rank third best in the nation. No curve here.

          Somehow the state pulled an A+ in cost of living despite a July 5 report from WalletHub that shows us with the sixth highest energy bills in the country.

          Financial writer Adam McCann writes, “Get ready to crank up your air conditioner — and utility budget. Last summer was the third hottest on record for America, and this year is predicted to bring more sweltering heat to many parts of the country….It’s important to consider energy consumption when choosing a place to live, as around 27 percent of American households have difficulty meeting their energy needs.”

          Yes, Oklahoma’s Republican leadership lapse has produced wonders.

          And, more news of our distinctiveness, J.D. Power released a Utilities Intelligence Report at the end of June that ranked Oklahoma water quality as the third worst in the nation.

          Gov. Kevin Stitt’s drive for top ten status is blasting full speed – in reverse.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: <> or <>.)

GOP delivers rank rankings

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