Story and video by Staff Sgt. Christopher Bruce, Office of Public Affairs
The Oklahoma National Guard has an average annual impact of more than $2.5 billion on Oklahoma’s economy according to a study released by Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) economists.
SWOSU’s Center for Economic and Business Development studied the Oklahoma National Guard’s projected economic impact in Oklahoma from 2014 through 2018. The study reveals the Guard’s impact in eight areas: gross state product, real disposable personal income, state output, employment impact, capital stock, population impact, tax impact and proprietors’ income.
Fui Ting Phang was the senior research analyst for the in-depth study that took months to complete and cost the Guard $14,000. It is believed to be the first study of its type ever conducted specifically on the economic impacts of the Oklahoma National Guard.
“For every 100 jobs created by the Oklahoma National Guard, it creates an additional 227 jobs,” said Phang, referring to the additional Guard positions and projected private sector job growth.
The study shows the Oklahoma National Guard currently employs 1,193 full-time employees in the Army and another 239 full-time jobs in the Air Guard. Over a five-year time span, the study suggests the Guard will help generate an additional 13,557 jobs statewide.
“This study gives us an opportunity to talk to the communities out there where we build armories and where Citizen Soldiers serve their nation and state,” said Col. Curtis Arnold, director of installation management for the Oklahoma National Guard. “This study gives us an opportunity to talk to civic leaders, state leaders and private business organizations and citizens to tell them what a value we are.”
The study reveals the Oklahoma National Guard is directly responsible for $11.7 million in income tax revenue collections this year and that will rise to just over $15 million in 2018. The Guard is expected to help generate $6.6 million in sales taxes in 2014 and more than $7.3 million in 2018.
“What they [communities] want to know is what they are investing in,” said Capt. Houston Cantrell, real property attorney for the Oklahoma National Guard. “It takes time to appropriate this money and it takes time to build these buildings. So it takes a lot of civic leadership and vision and this study gives them [community leaders] the bigger picture.”
The center also conducted a second study on the impact of a new Army Readiness Center in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Contractors will begin constructing the $23.2 million facility in 2017 and project it to be completed in 2019. The readiness center will employ 18 full-time and 321 part-time drilling members when complete.
“The end result the Oklahoma National Guard has a substantial positive impact on the state of Oklahoma and also the regional economies,” Phang explained.
Read the full Economic Impact Study
Read the full Ardmore Economic Impact Study
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