But it isn’t just higher taxes that make these so-called progressive states less attractive to business. Red states Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, West Virginia, Montana and North Dakota (and a few blue states like Ohio and Pennsylvania) are getting rich from oil and gas drilling. Meanwhile, bluer-than-blue New York has extended its moratorium on the technological advance behind the boom, hydraulic fracturing, citing overblown environmental hazards, and Vermont has outlawed it altogether. California’s regulations prohibit nearly all new drilling of any kind.
Moreover, the entire Northeast and West Coast is anti-right-to-work, meaning that workers employed in unionized workplaces may be required to join the union and pay dues that might go toward political causes they disagree with. Most of these blue states also have super-minimum wage laws that price low-income workers out of the job market.
All the empirical evidence shows that raising a state’s tax burden weakens its tax base. Still, too many blue-state lawmakers believe that a primary purpose of government is to redistribute income from rich to poor, even if those policies make everyone, including the poor, less well off. The obsession with “fairness” puts growth secondary.