New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he doesn’t need to debate Texas Gov. Rick Perry about the economic policies of the two biggest states and rejects Perry’s challenge.  “I’m going to let the numbers speak for themselves,” Cuomo explained.

Cuomo wasn’t ducking, however, he was just admitting the obvious. There really isn’t anything to debate because when you compare the states’ economic records the conversation is over: Texas wins.

Erica Grieder, a senior editor at Texas Monthly and the author of Big, Hot, Cheap and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas, explains it simply: “A state like this where you see so much growth and so much change…having a limited government apparatus on top of that and a robust private sector has been really good for [Texas].” She goes on: “For the past 10-12 years, pretty much every economic metric you look at is better than you see in the country as a whole.” She also points out that the growth in Texas hasn’t been limited to “the one percent.” Growth has affected the middle class, the working class, and just about every industry sector.

The Dallas Federal Reserve recently put out a paper making this exact point. Authors Melissa LoPalo and Pia M. Orrenius examine the data and find that not only has Texas created more jobs – “between 2000 and 2013 employment grew 24.9 percent versus 4.7 percent for the country as a whole” — but the jobs are distributed among the range of different wage categories:

Texas experienced stronger job growth than the rest of the nation in all four wage quartiles from 2000 to 2013, even in the middle two quartiles, where growth in the rest of the nation was negative and zero, respectively.

Simply put, Texas isn’t just creating burger-flipping jobs, which tends to be the criticism.

So where is New York in comparison? Cuomo can point to one measure by which New York is doing better for business climate. Instead of being dead last among 50 states, New York is now third to last because Cuomo has reformed the corporate tax rate, reports the Tax Foundation.

New York’s GOP chairman complained recently about the dessert company Entenmenn’s plans to leave New York. As a young lawyer, Ed Cox helped the company go public and he remarked that the loss of 178 jobs to Chicago and Pennsylvania was just the most recent example of the Empire State’s difficult business climate:

Over the last two decades, New York has lost 500,000 manufacturing jobs. Northrop Grumman is reducing its Long Island employment from 1,400 to 550, from a workforce that once totaled more than 25,000.

In addition, Bausch & Lomb is moving its New York headquarters out of state and eliminating as much as 15 percent of its workforce.


Pennsylvania has been taking jobs from New York in another big sector, energy. Whereas Pennsylvania has embraced the extraction technology known as hydraulic fracturing, New York has had a moratorium in place for more than 5 years. As Diana Furchtgott-Roth explains the results in Pennsylvania have been dramatic:

Between 2007 and 2011, per capita income rose by 19 percent in Pennsylvania counties with more than 200 wells, by 14 percent in counties with between 20 and 200 wells, and by 12 percent in counties with fewer than 20 wells. In counties without any hydrofracking wells, income went up only by 8 percent. 

The energy boom and low energy costs have helped Texas as well. Indeed, Perry makes special mention of this in his ads touting Texas as the best place to do business. Those ads are playing in New York. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s ads trying desperately to make similar claims about New York’s business climate are playing in New York City, which Gov. Perry just couldn’t resist mentioning. Perry said he liked the ads, “but why would you be showin’ ‘em in New York City? I mean, just curious,” he asked. “If you were really interested in luring business, you’d be out doin’ those in Texas or Oklahoma.”

Another good question for which Cuomo doesn’t have an answer.