TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

March 21, 2014

Right-to-work law needed in Kentucky’s economic toolbox

CORBIN — Respected economists Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore claim the most important tools in a state’s economic toolbox are a right-to-work law and lower taxes.

The economists’ analysis of states with humming economies versus those with sputtering ones — along with the experience of Kentucky’s economic development experts — seem to confirm their assertion.

While I recently showed in this column that states with the largest union-membership increases in 2013 also were right-to-work states, Laffer and Moore highlighted new Census Bureau data revealing that the same “tool” also positively impacts population growth.

They conclude: “The South and Sunbelt regions of the country continue to grow, while the Northeast and Midwest continue to shrink.”

According to Laffer and Moore, Raleigh, Austin, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas were among the fastest-growing areas last year while Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, Providence and Rochester were among metro areas suffering the biggest population losses.

The growing areas in their list contain stark similarities, as do those with significant declines: Population growth is happening in right-to-work areas while those that deny that individual liberty are losing out.

The economists observe that the fastest growing states “are following the Reagan model by reducing tax rates and easing regulations. They also offer right-to-work laws as an enticement for businesses to come and set up shop.”

States losing population, meanwhile, “are implementing the Obama model of raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy to fund government ‘investments’ and union power.”

Which model does Kentucky embrace?

Hint: Between 2002 and 2012, the population of 25-34 year olds in right-to-work states grew by a robust 11.2 percent while Kentucky lost 1.1 percent of that same population group.  

Laffer and Moore state: “The contrast sets up a wonderful natural laboratory to test rival economic ideas.”

It also gives governors of robust states opportunity to challenge states, like Kentucky, where political leaders — particularly in the governor’s office and House of Representatives — refuse to support lower taxes and right-to-work laws.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was doing just that recently in his speech at a Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner in Murray.

“I can promise you: I get up every morning and I’m nervous about what (Gov.) Bobby Jindal’s doing in Louisiana, and I know for a fact that Rick Scott’s over there in Florida looking at his tax code, his regulatory code; he’s trying to pass major tort reform in Florida today. It makes me nervous,” Perry said. “But you know what? I don’t worry about Kentucky. You think (Tennessee Gov.) Bill Haslam’s not sitting down there, kind of looking up here going ‘which of those businesses am I going to come get this time’ because he’s a right-to-work state, he doesn’t have a personal income tax.”

Florida Gov. Scott last year invited Kentucky businesses to purchase “one-way ticket” to his state while touting its low tax rates and business-friendly atmosphere.

But it’s not just governors of other states that understand how empty a toolbox is without a right-to-work policy.

“Our economic developers deal with it every day, and we talk about our toolbox — what we have in our communities, what we have to help build and create those jobs in Kentucky and to have that capital investment,” said Hal Goode, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Economic Development, while announcing his organization’s support for a right-to-work law.

“And while there are opposing viewpoints that cite a variety of contradictory economic statistics to favor their position, the reality for the professional economic developer is very clear: all too often Kentucky is not even considered or is quickly eliminated from consideration for new or expanded business projects that are out there,” Goode said.

Jim Waters is president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com. Read previously published columns at www.bipps.org.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide