Reports offer contrary views on CA, business

California traffic sign, wikimediaThe new Economic Freedom of North America report evaluating the 92 states and provinces in the U.S., Canada and Mexico for how many obstacles they place on businesses says only one American state — New York — has more such obstacles than California.

The report, assembled by scholars at the Fraser Institute in Toronto, examines the 50 American states, 32 Mexican provinces and 10 provinces/state governments in Canada and compares their differences in government spending, taxes, labor market freedom, legal systems/property rights, sound money, the ability to trade internationally, tax rates, credit market regulation, and business regulations.

New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Florida and Tennessee get the highest marks of any American states. After New York and California, Alaska, Hawaii and New Mexico round out the bottom five.

That means all four of America’s mega-states are in the top five or bottom five, and that the Fraser report is likely to prompt familiar arguments about whether California’s business-unfriendliness is oversold, or whether the higher economic freedoms of Texas haven’t yielded more dividends because talented people value quality of life — i.e., living in California.

Business Insider has upbeat take on California

Last year, in response to CEO magazine ranking states on their hostility to business, Business Insider issued a ranking that evaluated the health of the economies of each of the 50 states. This provides a metric by which one can judge the argument that California’s regulatory climate is or isn’t too onerous.

The CEO survey last year ranked California as the most hostile in the nation for the tenth straight year.

But Business Insider, while acknowledging the CEO critique, had a different evaluation after examining “recent change in housing prices, nonfarm payroll job growth, unemployment rate, GDP per capita, average weekly wage, and state government surplus and deficit.”

It ranked California as having the fourth best economy in the nation, a ranking that might surprise even the strongest defenders of Gov. Jerry Brown’s record, given that many inland counties remain with recession levels of unemployment and underemployment, and given the size of the state’s unfunded retirement benefit liabilities.

But a closer look at the methodology suggests that California benefits greatly from the enormous wealth being generated in the Silicon Valley, a huge plus factor with few parallels in other states. GDP per capita is definitely on an uptick, even if the wages for most Californians are stagnant.

A 2014 Los Angeles Times analysis also provides context on why by one measure, the Golden State seems to be thriving, but not by others.

The fastest job creation has come in low-wage sectors, in which pay has declined. At the high end of the salary scale, a different dynamic has taken hold: rising pay and improving employment after rounds of consolidation.

Most distressing, middle-wage workers are losing out on both counts.

“People talk about it like an hourglass,” said Tracey Grose, vice president of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “There are fewer opportunities for people in the middle.”


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  1. Dude
    Dude 15 February, 2016, 09:31

    Short version: Moonbeam’s and Democrat’s socialism failed miserably in California just as it fails everywhere.

    Reply this comment
  2. desmond
    desmond 15 February, 2016, 09:42

    It is a great state to be a fireman or a corrections asshole. You are overpaid and a member if the 49er club, those with IQ no higher than ………..49.

    Reply this comment
    • Rex the Wonder Dog!
      Rex the Wonder Dog! 15 February, 2016, 22:14

      It is a great state to be a fireman or a corrections asshole. You are overpaid and a member if the 49er club, those with IQ no higher than ………..49.

      LOL!!! You are KILLING it Desmond 🙂

      I guess this is why Teddy Steals and Seesaw are such happy campers here in CA, their 49 IQ brain power is the perfect fit for their government workfare jobs 😉

      Reply this comment
  3. Ronald
    Ronald 15 February, 2016, 10:58

    Seem that our Sacramento legislatures are trying to clone the Disney business model.

    Disney “controls” admissions, by constantly raising the admission fees so those that do attend can enjoy the park. If Disney did not raise the admission fees, the park would be overcrowded and no one would enjoy the park.

    The California over regulations and exorbitant fees on businesses is resulting in California similarly controlling migrations from other States into California to control population growth, so that those that live here can enjoy the attributes of California without excessive overcrowding.

    California seems to be cloning the Disney business model, as the cost to enjoy our state is high and getting higher, but the unintended consequences of a business friendly state would mean even higher population growth and more congestion, traffic, etc., and result in no one enjoying that mess.

    Maybe Sacramento has some Disney blood !!!!

    Reply this comment
    • Dude
      Dude 15 February, 2016, 17:45

      Really, that’s what you think? How does that square with Moonbeam’s love affair with illegal aliens?

      Reply this comment
  4. NEAL
    NEAL 15 February, 2016, 11:29


    Reply this comment
  5. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 15 February, 2016, 19:50

    Moonbeam.moonbeam waah,waah,waah silly pathetic liberal wank

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 15 February, 2016, 22:45


    Service economy attracts low skill workers and the tech trinket makers enjoy the benefits derived from service workers.

    Plutocrats skim the top using government workers and publicans….

    The security industrial complex protects the rich while the masses fight each other for turf and survival.


    Reply this comment
  7. Irv
    Irv 16 February, 2016, 12:16

    ~~Didn’t California’s comptroller recently come out with a total CA debt of over 1 trillion dollars? California’s screwed if the LIBTURD><DUMACRAPS stay in power~~

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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