Why Texas has thrived!


For the last four decades I’ve followed island economies, their ups and downs, or how easily they crumble when policy from within or without or both derail it. It’s an imperfect science nearly as perfect in its imperfections.

It’s a given that island economies are poor because they don’t have any resources like oil or other minerals they could market globally. But isn’t Japan a resource-poor island country too? What did she do to have emerged a global economic giant? Or how about Hong Kong?

Japan used science and technology to move ahead. Hong Kong employed less taxes and stifling regulations to secure her own place as an investment hub in Asia. What’s ours besides the new culture of lawlessness?

Interestingly, Texas worked on its own policies to lure investments successfully, according to John C. Goodman, senior fellow at the Independent Institute and author.

It became a focal point of its economy that “drew natural attention where it created three of every 10 new jobs in the entire country.” Furthermore, “over the last four years Texas was the third among 50 states in job creation.” Former governor Rick Perry and others credit low taxes and sensible regulation for Texas’ economic success. Though there’s decline in energy prices that has slowed things a bit its policies sustained it. Goodman noted the Wall Street Journal editorial board agrees. Last week they wrote:

“The Tax Foundation ranks Texas’s business climate tenth best, and the state’s growth spurt vindicates the Perry formula of low taxes and a light regulatory touch. Between 2000 and 2010, Texas gained a net 781,542 domestic migrants—second only to Florida—while California lost 1.9 million, according to the Manhattan Institute. Last year Texas boasted the three fastest-growing counties with populations above 250,000 (Fort Bend, Montgomery and Williamson).”

In this connection, has the NMI taken the painstaking effort to review its arcane tax system and regulations to determine it they aren’t the stifling hurdles in the obvious revenue generation going deep south? Unless we know what we have coupled with the resolve to refine policies that spur rather than stifle investments we’d be stuck in the filthy mud of pushing economic stagnancy in perpetuity. Clarity of definition on major policy decisions is a pre-requisite in moving the needle of growth.

Issues that matter
Immediately ahead is U.S. Immigration mandate that we replace CWs with U.S. zitizen employees by 2019. Is there a fully thought out program on this issue that includes the education and training of locals to prepare them for the job market? Is it a realistic plan or wouldn’t this haunt private industries? Would it allow for expansion or contraction?

This is where the elected elite between here and Washington must converge forthwith to trump their cards in reality check if this imposition is workable or not. Without the accompanying labor requirement any plan to move the needle of growth forward would be frustrated and compromised. There’s time constrain to rectify this creeping anomaly.

The concept of alternative energy may be cumbersome especially for lawmakers with reading comprehension deficiencies. I see most are smart guys and gals. Use of common sense is all they need to employ to buckle down to doing and fulfilling fiduciary duty. Is this difficult or what is it that you find hard understanding?

It’s awfully quiet
Cruised by a village before sunset and noticed it’s awfully quiet, it’s deafening. A few folks were raking around the house before sunset. Most are probably cooking supper.

Sad the faces of villagers that seem drained of hope in their future. Even their usually enthusiastic voices are muted in deeply troubled sighs.

I know what they had to endure these days hoping helplessly for brighter tomorrows. There’s hardly a ray of hope that dawn would bring some good tidings. Recalled a recent economist report saying ours has maintained sustained growth. Really? How has it translated to improving the lot of households in the islands? But we know the truth: it hasn’t! It’s a good cheerleader’s role stirring excitement that quickly fizzled.

A point we can’t dismiss mirroring what the Obama White House has told debt-ridden Puerto Rico of “no federal bailout.” PR’s Gov. Alejandro Padilla said he hopes there’s a way out. “This is not about politics, this is about math.” His territory owes $72 billion in municipal bond debt. I think ours is somewhere in the neighborhood of about $1.2 billion.

Am I optimistic that descending investments would spur revenue generation in stride? Uh, I’ll take a rain check for now. I challenge geniuses on imperial hill to show us they have the mantle to do the right thing by doing it right.

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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