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Data released by the census bureau yesterday indicates that Republican-leaning seats will have a stronger voice in the House and increased pull in the electoral college over the next decade. Yet, there is a deeper, more important message contained within the heaps of figures as well. States that embrace conservative principles of governance are growing, while those states that stubbornly cling to progressive policies are bleeding citizens, jobs and influence. People are flocking to states in the South and West that offer low taxes and reject mandatory collective bargaining. The population increase in states governed by conservative principles has two components: internal migration and immigration. In the first case, American citizens continue to relocate into states where government exerts a light hand. In the latter, new immigrants naturally flock to the states where economic opportunities are the brightest. Either way, the 2010 census provides a ringing endorsement for the kind of free market, limited government principles that the electorate so strongly supported in the last election.
The big winner was Texas, which saw its population swell by twenty-one percent over the last decade and which will gain four seats in the House of Representatives as a result. As a “Right to Work” state and one that imposes no state income tax, Texas continues to serve as a model of free market driven prosperity, despite the long recession. Last year the Lone Star state added 129,000 jobs. Compare that to California, which lost 112,000 jobs in the same time frame. Then, consider another point of contrast: state and local government spending in Texas has held steady at about eighteen percent of its private GDP, while state and local government spending in California ballooned from nineteen percent in 1987 to over twenty-six percent today.
According to Americans for Tax Reform the states that will gain seats in reapportionment have an average top individual state income tax rate of 2.8 percent, while those states that will lose seats have an average top rate of 6.05 percent. Almost 90 percent of winning states have Right to Work laws in place, while only 20 percent of losing states allow workers to opt-out of paying union dues. The net effect is obvious. States that offer lower taxes and that refuse to pay homage to Big Labor attract employers, who in turn attract employees. People flock to cities where jobs are plentiful, whether those people happen to be new immigrants or whether their families have lived in America for generations. The 2010 census makes it very clear that such cities are located within states that still believe in the American Dream.
Ohio and New York will lose two seats in the House, while Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Louisiana will each lose one. Of that group, only Louisiana is a reliably red state, and its population decrease is attributable to the exodus that occurred after Hurricane Katrina wreaked her havoc, rather than the way the state is governed. In addition to Texas, winners include Florida, which will pick up two seats, while Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Washington will gain a seat apiece. These are largely free market states, for only Washington can be described as true blue, although it does not have a state or corporate income tax.
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