In the wake of Governor Cuomo's comments about conservatives in New York, I've been truly touched by the messages I've received from people throughout the country inviting me to their state. These “pitches” to move to other states aren't just exclusive to me, but a reminder to all Americans that we have a number of very good choices as to where to live and raise our families.
In particular, there are a number of Red States in America that are leading the way in terms of economic opportunity, job creation and fostering a welcoming environment for all.
More than twenty states throughout America are now run by Republicans, holding the governorship and majority in the state legislatures. This has allowed many of these states to enact conservative policies on a range of issues: taxes, spending cuts, labor laws, regulations, social issues, energy, choices in education, voter ID laws, not participating in ObamaCare exchanges.
The result of conservative policies on many of these issues is clear: people want to live in Red States. Throughout the last decade we've seen a mass exodus of Blue States residents, seeking the desirable qualities of Red States. The only problem is that these Blue State residents move to Red States and then start voting for the Blue State policies, failing to understand that they are re-establishing the very liberals policies from which they fled!
Taxes is one of the biggest drivers of migration to these states. According to the Tax Foundation, “Between 1999 and 2010, high-tax New York, New Jersey, and California lost about 1.2 million individual taxpayers and more than $97 billion of personal income. This does not include the corporate losses.” As I pointed out yesterday, most of the income leaving New York is ending up in Florida, a no income tax state.
To their own detriment, Blue States like California and New York are doubling down on the very policies that are driving residents away by increasing taxes and the redistribution of wealth. They are also dumb when it comes to energy and not seizing on the opportunity to utilize resources right under their feet; How could a state like California watch what is happening in North Dakota and Texas and say, “Nope, that's not for us!” It's just dumb and people will leave as a result. High taxes and little economic opportunity isn't a recipe for economic prosperity.
While taxes aren't the only reason people move, they represent a competitive advantage for businesses within those states and therefore likely offer more opportunities for economic prosperity. Other opportunities include fewer regulations and right-to-work laws. According to a study published last year by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), “The odds of finding a good job are significantly better in the nation’s red states than in blue states.” The study gauges economic outlook, and here's what they found:
“The bad news for blue states: Not one ranks in the top 10 based on overall economic outlook as gauged by 15 economic indicators, including tax rates, regulatory burden and labor policies. Eight of the top 10 slots are held by GOP-dominated red states, led by Utah, while two are politically mixed 'purple' states, Florida and Virginia.”
While conservative policies cannot be responsible for other factors such as climate, it is clear that they certainly play a pivotal role in fostering an environment where people want to be.
The success of conservative principles on the state level should empower conservatives throughout the country that the same success could be matched if only given a chance in Washington. The conservative state laboratories aren't just theory but thriving, living examples of what can happen if certain policies and values are put in place.
I'm glad that we, in America, have the opportunity for states to maintain the autonomy to make such choices. I'm glad that conservative principles are fostering economic opportunity for those who live or move to those states. I'm hopeful that the success of Republicans at the state level will resonate with the voters nationally in 2016.