Last week the president kicked off a Jobs and Opportunity Tour in Austin, Texas—a city that’s flourishing because state and local leaders have cultivated a good business climate and helped nurture a booming high-tech industry.
The president is smart to step outside of Washington to see how enterprising states, like Texas, are driving stronger economic growth and job creation despite many antibusiness and antigrowth policies coming from the federal government. These states’ pro-growth policies are helping businesses succeed and people get back to work—and they are providing a good model for other state and national leaders on how to advance strong and competitive economies.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just released its 4th annual Enterprising States study, which evaluates states’ policies in five areas essential to jobs and growth: exports and international trade, entrepreneurship and innovation, business climate, talent pipeline, and infrastructure.
We found the following common practices among economically thriving states:
Enterprising states create low-tax environments that attract businesses from around the country and enhance their competitiveness. They invest in infrastructure to keep people and commerce moving smoothly and efficiently. They encourage and reward innovation and welcome start-ups. They see the tremendous value of free trade and embrace it. They cultivate people through workforce development and strong schools. They keep regulations light and curb lawsuit abuse. They enable the private sector to responsibly develop energy resources. They take steps to attract and revitalize manufacturing. And their state leaders often work closely with local and regional economic development organizations to support entrepreneurship and business expansion.
States that are doing all or many of these things are more resilient and better able to compete in the national and global economies. They have recovered much faster from the recession than states that haven’t adopted pro-growth policies. And they are watching their state economies expand, their unemployment rates fall, opportunities rise for their residents, and prosperity spread more quickly across their cities and communities.
As the president maps out his ongoing Jobs and Opportunity Tour, he may find the Enterprising States study to be a useful guide. By visiting the states that are growing and prospering, he would get a firsthand look at what works. And he would quickly see that an agenda of higher taxes, heavier regulations, and unsustainable spending is exactly the wrong way to get more jobs and to create greater opportunity.
To see where each state ranks in jobs, economic growth, and competitiveness, visit www.EnterprisingStates.com.
This article was written by Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for Free Enterprise.