Governor Hickenlooper (and boy, that need to be in the editor clipboard) has signalled a desire to be more “pro-business.”   There’s a reason for that:

It’s already bad enough that the US has the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world.  We also know that jobs tend to flow from blue states to red ones, and Colorado has a lot of red states surrounding it.

Kim Strassel has a fine piece in today’s Wall Street Journal about how the red-state governors of Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio are already taking advantage of Illinois’s addiction to self-destructive behavior by luring businesses away.  There are some limits; it’s 

unlikely that Gary, Indiana, a joke since Meredith Wilson’s time, will be able to replicate Chicago’s freight infrastructure.  But there’s no good reason why businesses can’t relocate to Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Santa Fe, or Texas.  (Cheyenne, you say?  Well, yes.  It made news last year when a large computer server farm, dedicated to some environmental purpose or another, relocated there to get away from Colorado’s high electricity rates.)  Minnesota also isn’t so far away, and the new Republican majority up there may be enough to override Governor Dayton’s apparent intent to fumble this opportunity for his state.

Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and Texas all rank higher on the Tax Foundation’s Business Tax Climate Rankings (  Nevada could be a nice stop for Californians looking to defect.  The aforementioned Minnesota ranks 43rd, another reason they could be looking to improve.

And remember that “business-friendly” doesn’t necessarily mean “market-friendly,” or “growth-friendly.” Success at nurturing large businesses could come at the expense of small ones, which may or may not be more mobile.  The hunger to lure larger defectors from California could mean subsidies at the expense of the rest of us.

Mayor Hickenlooper has already succeeded in driving business out of Denver to the surrounding cities, through software taxes, the head tax, and regulatory snarl.  He’ll face similar pressures from his base to repeat that performance as governor.  Let’s hope he realizes that other states will be willing to capitalize on that error.

  1. No comments yet.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. No trackbacks yet.