Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
About a year ago I wrote a post called “Does Policy Matter?” examining whether or not state policy really makes that much difference in how various regional economies perform. It seems pretty obvious that states can really screw things up, but can they make it better?
With the voters repealing legislation that would have put limits on public sector unions in Ohio, we now have a situation where five core Great Lakes states, states which face broadly similar challenges and opportunities, have now staked out some very interesting contrasts in how they want to do business. It will be interesting to see how they fare. The contestants, with their strategies, are:
1. Indiana. We’ll be the South-lite. Think K-Mart, not Wal-Mart. Bare bones and proud of it, though unlike Texas and Tennessee we don’t have right to work but we do have a state income tax.
2. Illinois. We’re as screwed up as California and New York, but we think we’re just as rich and important as California and New York, so we don’t really care.
3. Wisconsin. Why don’t we see what happens when you take a chain saw to a blue state?
4. Michigan. We’ve got the worst business reputation in the country and have been in recession for over a decade. But let’s not go too crazy changing.
5. Ohio. Union and proud of it. Big blue all the way baby, and let’s super-size those pensions while were at it.
May the best state win.