The 'Texas model' adopted by NYC


If there’s anything “new” about the “New New York” ad campaign touting that state’s tax breaks and increasingly business-friendly environment, it’s that New York seems to now realize that those things matter. The ads are running on most cable news channels.

One ad features Robert De Niro — who played the young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather Part II.”

“Some said we lost our edge,” De Niro says. “Well today, there’s a new New York State, one that’s working to attract businesses and create jobs.”

New York won’t pose a threat to Texas as a draw for business relocations any time soon, but the ad campaign shows the Texas models works. But that’s not enough to assuage some critics.

“The Cuomo administration has set aside nearly $140 million for an advertising campaign called “New York State Open for Business,” with the money drawn largely from a state authority created to lower electricity bills and from federal disaster aid, records show,” the New York Times reported last year. “Critics of the ‘Open for Business’ campaign, which the Legislature approved, have proliferated as the commercials receive heavy airtime on networks like CNN, CNBC and NBC. Some have questioned whether the campaign is a wise use of money, while others have questioned whether New York, with its high tax burden, is truly business-friendly.”

Some critics point to the source of the funding for the ad campaign.

“A state official said the early stages of the ad campaign were partly financed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which runs programs intended to reduce energy consumption and improve the environment, and the Dormitory Authority of New York, which supports universities and nonprofit institutions,” the Times explains. “Last December, the Cuomo administration added another $50 million. The money came from the State Power Authority, which was created to generate and provide cheap electricity to lower bills for residents and business.”

Wherever the money is coming from, it’s serving to prove one thing. New York wants to be the same kind of draw for businesses as Texas. It’s not hard to see why.

“Texas has demonstrated that the way to create jobs is to keep the government small and the markets free,” writes Mario Loyola of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “The Lone Star State is now the industrial engine of the American economy, singlehandedly responsible for half of the country’s job growth in recent years. When recession created enormous gaps in the state budget, as in 2003 and 2011, the state managed to balance the budget mostly through spending cuts. Texas still has no personal-income tax, which continues to draw enormous investment, thereby increasing the tax base. Revenue to the government of Texas has increased by nearly 50 percent since 2000, while federal revenue has languished, growing only about 10 percent.”

The lesson here is that it takes more than ad campaigns to attract business and economic activity. It takes the right policies.

The Texas Legislature would do well to remember this, lest businesses soon find themselves in a New York state of mind.

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