What California Could Learn from North Dakota
"In his speech last week responding to high gas prices, President Barack Obama insisted that "we can't just drill our way out of" our energy woes. Actually, we can—and if the president wants proof, he should travel to boomtown USA: Williston, North Dakota.
The Census finds that North Dakota led the nation in job and income growth in 2011. It has the nation's lowest unemployment rate, at 3.3% (California's is 11.1%), and it saw a huge 38.5% increase in its number of millionaires between 2009 and 2010, according to state tax return data. California, by contrast, lost nearly 50,000—or almost one-third—of its high-income residents ($500,000 and above) between 2007 and 2009, according to the Sacramento Bee.
North Dakota is also flush with cash and a budget reserve of at least $1 billion, out of a $3.5 billion biennial budget. The state has already cut income taxes, and it is building thousands of miles of "shovel ready" infrastructure projects—roads, bridges, railroads, pipelines—without almost any of Uncle Sam's funny money. Bismarck may be the only state capital in the country that debates what to do with all its tax riches.
Perhaps they could send it as foreign aid to Sacramento. California's budget analysts just announced their fifth straight year of fiscal plague, with up to $6 billion of red ink for 2012-13. Budgets for schools, transportation, health care, libraries and museums are being cut, even though the state already has one of the nation's highest income and sales taxes. Gov. Jerry Brown is sponsoring a ballot initiative this year to raise those taxes yet again.
He'd be better off leading a fact-finding delegation to North Dakota to learn how to pay bills, create tens of thousands of jobs, and balance a budget. The short answer: Drill, baby, drill. Mr. Obama might want to come on that trip too."
MP: The chart above shows the difference in job growth over the last five years between the two states. North Dakota has 14% more payroll jobs now than in 2007, and even the Great Recession didn't stop job creation in the Peace Garden State, as it expanded by payrolls by almost 2% between December 2007 and June 2009. In contrast, California payrolls shrank by almost 7.5% during the recession and are still 6% below the January 2007 level.