In the Republican/Tea Party view of the world, Massachusetts, or as they call it ‘Taxachusetts‘, is a state burdened by high local taxes, riddled with regulations, and with a school system under the control of teachers’ unions. And therefore no doubt mired in deep seated state inspired poverty and dearth of wealth creation from sturdy, religious fundamentalists….
Unfortunately for this world view (though it is an often data-proof world view), Massachusetts has the second highest per capita income of any US state, after that other New England bastion of socialism, Connecticut, at least in 2011. It does change a bit by year and no this ranking doesn’t date from Mitt Romney’s time: it has been high tax, Blue State, near the top on per capita income for decades. And indeed of the 13 highest per capita income US states, only Alaska, a bit of an outlier because of small population and large mineral wealth is a Red State. Utah at 14 is the next Red State in the listing. And of the bottom ten poorest states by per capita income, 9 of them are Red aka Republican states. Only newly Blue New Mexico makes the bottom ten. Even Texas, with its Koch Brothers, wing nuts, and lots of oil only makes 25th. in the per capita income stakes. What’s the matter with them? They are not on the low taxes great value add program at all….
There may be many reasons for this, a major one I suspect being education levels/spending on education. I am not saying Massachusetts is perfect. It probably would benefit from less regulation, and some lower taxes/less government waste, and it is not growing as fast as many states. But, given a choice between being ‘Taxachusetts or dirt poor Louisiana, the poorest US state (and also the most unequal), middle rank states like Pennsylvania who are toying with destroying their education systems, inspired by Tea Party ideology, might do well to emulate ‘Taxachusetts’, rather than Louisiana and make education and education spending the top priority. Or is it simply the folks in ‘Taxachusetts‘ work harder despite the higher local taxes and regulations? I doubt it…
The fair state of ‘Taxachusetts’: