Following in Connecticut’s Regressive Footsteps

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As Rhode Island’s Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo attempts to squeak out victory for a second term, we would do well to keep in mind the Democrat governor of our neighboring state, Dannel Malloy, who managed to accomplish just that, and with some of the same personnel.  A recent Wall Street Journal editorial gives some such food for thought:

Governor Dannel Malloy’s eight-year experiment in public-union governance saw income grow by a meager 1.5% for the year, well below Vermont (2.1%). The state even trailed Maine (2.7%) and Rhode Island (2.4%), which are usually the New England laggards. …

Lest you think this was a one-year anomaly, we looked at the personal income figures for every year since 2011. That’s the year Mr. Malloy took office, and the state rebounded well from the recession with 4.9% income growth, the best in New England.

It has been downhill from there. In personal income growth, Connecticut was 49th out of 50 states in 2012, 37th in 2013, 39th in 2014 and 2015, and 33rd in 2016. The consistently poor performance, especially relative to its regional neighbors, suggests that the causes are bad economic policies, not the business cycle or a downturn in a specific industry.

That stinging reference to Rhode Island, as one of two typical “New England laggards” ought to be a warning sign.  For one thing, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) shows Maine making huge progress.

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More importantly, though, if the editors are correct and Connecticut’s problems are a consequence of policy, they brought not just a decrease, but a fall from grace — to almost no wage growth if dividends and government transfers are taken out of the equation. Can a state that’s already considered a typical laggard really afford a similar slide?



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