Why I've Got Texas Envy

One minor story you may have missed: a visit by California Republicans (and one Democrat, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom) to Texas to learn more about why it has a lower unemployment -- and better job growth in recent years -- than California.

The trip has occasioned some tut-tutting among leading Californians that Texas has little to brag about. The state's officials, after years of taunting California for its budget problems, now faces a California-sized budget deficit. Experts also predict big job losses for Texas' economy.

Fair enough. But the California gloating about Texas goes too far, because the Lone Star State has an enormous advantage on us. They have a governing system that permits them to balance their budget and deal with their economic problems. California does not.

Texan legislators are not hamstrung by a huge constitution and a sea of inflexible, voter-approved spending mandates, as California's elected officials are. They don't need two-thirds vote to make fiscal decisions, as we do. So the legislative majority and the governor there will be able to make decisions about how to balance the budget. And the voters will then be able to decide if they like those decisions -- or prefer to replace those in office.

This sort of representative democracy isn't possible under California's system. Which is why Texas is almost certain to pull out of its fiscal mess before we do.

Contact Us