Republican-run states are leading America’s recovery out of recession according to Joel Kotkin, a presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University.
“Some political commentators have written political obituaries of the ‘red’ or conservative-leaning states, envisioning a brave new world dominated by fashionably blue bastions in the Northeast or California,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal
“But political fortunes are notoriously fickle, while economic trends tend to be more enduring.”
And those trends favor the red, pointing to “a U.S. economic future dominated by four growth corridors that are generally less dense, more affordable, and markedly more conservative and pro-business,” Kotkin says.
The areas he identifies are the Great Plains, the Intermountain West, what he calls “The Third Coast” — the Gulf states from Texas to Florida — and the Southeastern industrial belt.
Between 2001 and 2011, job growth for the first three of those regions totaled 7 to 8 percent, nearly 10 times the job growth rate for the rest of the country.
“Historically, these regions were little more than resource colonies or low-wage labor sites for richer, more technically advanced areas,” Kotkin says. “By promoting policies that encourage enterprise and spark economic growth, they're catching up.”
And it’s not just Republicans implementing such policies. There are also Democrats who “don’t share their national party's notion that business should serve as a cash cow to fund ever more expensive social-welfare, cultural or environmental programs,” Kotkin says.
“While California, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, and Minnesota have either enacted or pursued higher income taxes, many corridor states have no income taxes or are planning, like Kansas and Louisiana, to lower or even eliminate them.”
That goes a long way toward explaining how corridor states occupied 11 of the top 15 spots in Chief Executive magazine's 2012 review of best state business climates, Kotkin says.
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