By Dr. J. Robert McClure, President & CEO of The James Madison Institute
Originally Posted on WCTV6-CBS Editorial Blog: “Governors & the National Perspective” on October 12, 2011
You may not know that in the first six months of this year, Florida was the state leader in job creation. Granted, we had further to go than many other states because of our over-dependence upon housing and real estate, and clearly we are not out of the woods by any stretch. But the reality is that Governor Scott made job creation and the state’s economy his primary focus during the campaign, and he has done so during his subsequent time in office. He promised lower taxes, a lighter regulatory burden, reform of state government, and a predictable, stable environment for small, medium, and large businesses to then decide how best to allocate resources and grow. And guess what? It appears to be working.Now skeptics will say that one can’t credit the Governor for job creation six months into his term in office, and there is some truth to that. We understand that government doesn’t create jobs – except of course government jobs; it can only create the conditions for job growth in the private sector to occur. Clearly businesses understand here in the Sunshine State that our leaders, both in the executive and legislative branches, have put in place some of those conditions. Consequently, we are seeing the early, yet delicate signs of what happens when state leaders limit the role of government in our daily lives and promote greater personal responsibility on the part of the citizenry. As a former budget director for Governor Bush said, “The best way to improve your budget is to improve your economy.”Governors across the country, both Democratic and Republican, seem to be getting this very message that Washington, D.C. continues to miss. Christie in New Jersey, Cuomo in New York, Daniels in Indiana, Walker in Wisconsin, Haley in South Carolina, and of course Governor Scott, among others, all understand that a high tax and regulatory burden is a job-killer, and folks will simply leave the state and take their capital with them. Contrast these Governors with those in Illinois and California, where businesses cannot leave fast enough unless they receive some form of government largesse to stay.Now let’s look briefly at our nation’s capital. Congress, in its infinite cowardice, punted its responsibility on the budget to an unaccountable super-committee. The President has been in office nearly three years and only recently released an all-encompassing jobs plan. And we here at JMI predicted much of what he proposed too – works projects, green jobs, light rail, targeted tax cuts and credits, and higher taxes on the “rich.” It’s the same ol’ ineffective playbook from the statists.Turning this economy around, however, is not rocket science – and most of the states and most Americans understand this. Governors Christie, Cuomo, Daniels and Scott’s way is President Reagan’s way. When government decreases in virtually every form, we will see a corresponding increase in prosperity that will both create jobs and improve the economy. Washington’s current way of doing business has never worked over the long term. It didn’t work under Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon or Carter, and it’s not going to work now – and the good people of this great country will suffer if we continue on our present course.