Why Other States Can’t Import Texas’ Economy

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Here’s one economic message for other governors: “Don’t Mess with Texas.”

Why? Because Oklahoma’s southern neighbor is unique, says a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Basically: Texas is a state no other state can replicate.

Here’s the argument:

There’s no doubt that Texas is growing, writes the center’s Elisabeth McNichol and Nicholas Johnson.

And lawmakers in other states — especially Oklahoma — have turned to Texas for tips on economic policy. But McNichol and Johnson say Texas has what most state can’t emulate.

The reality is that much of Texas’ growth results not from its policies but rather from factors that state officials cannot control, they write.

Here’s the bullet points on Texas’ uniqueness, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

  • Natural population growth (births minus deaths);
  • Lots of land, cheap housing, low cost of living;
  • Oil and natural gas;
  • Immigration from Mexico;

Texas has a lot of natural advantages, but the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the state’s economic advantages might be slipping:

Beyond population and job growth, Texas continues to lag behind the rest of the country in other important measures of economic success. About one in ten hourly wage jobs in Texas pays at or below the minimum wage ($7.25 per hour), more than in any other state, and Texas has the nation’s 11th-highest poverty rate. Such high levels of poverty and low-wage employment make the Texas economy a dubious model for the nation.


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