By Clare Michal
Diane recently had the opportunity to moderate a panel at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference in San Diego. Harkey joined the panel with Dr. Art Laffer, a former economic policy advisor to President Reagan, and Stephen Moore, a former Wall Street Journal Editorial Board member. Appropriately, in a panel which focused on highlighting policies between Texas and other states such as California, ALEC Chair and Texas Representative Phil King introduced the guests.
The subject of the panel discussion was Dr. Laffer and Moore’s new book, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States: How Taxes, Energy, and Worker Freedom Change Everything.” The lively and sometimes humorous discussion in front of over 600 state legislators, policy experts, and industry leaders was one of the featured events of ALEC’s San Diego conference.
The audience heard about gas prices, the death tax, and economic disparities between states. Laffer and Moore discussed the regulations and taxes in states like Texas where 1 million jobs were created, while the rest of the nation lost 350,000 jobs. They also shared data showing the high percentages of people that are leaving these over taxed, over regulated states for more economically friendly states. Dr. Laffer used California as an example of a state where high spending and high taxes don’t always guarantee a high quality of services delivered, citing that California spends the most on education per student, but has the 4th worst test scores. Moore also added that pension obligations in many states mean taxpayers are automatically getting less service for their money.
The panel discussed the high gas prices in California due to the shutdown and refurbishment of refineries, regulations, and taxation. At one point Stephen Moore made light of repealing the death tax with the catchy “no taxation without respiration”, and told the story of the leading death tax advocate in the state of Michigan who fled to Florida shortly before his death to avoid paying the tax.
The data compiled by the authors reinforces their assertion that states with lower tax rates more often experience higher population influx and economic growth. People and businesses are mobile and respond to tax climates by relocating to lower tax states with plentiful job opportunities.
The beauty of having 50 states is that we can compare how policies work in each state. It also provides for states to draw conclusions and copy policies that work.
Thank you to ALEC for inviting Diane to engage in an important panel exploring the proper tax policies to return the gold to California and America to an economic leader.