Saturday, January 12, 2019

It’s really just simple math






Too many state governors operate under the assumption that the key to economic growth is to cut taxes – but it is not.


The recession of 2008-2009 was devastating for just about every state. Overall, 50 state tax revenue declined about 12% in that two year time period, but some states did worse. We’re all familiar with the disaster that Sam Brownback brought to Kansas, but Arizona’s relentless tax cutting produced even worst results. By the middle of 2009, tax revenue in Kansas had declined at roughly the save average as the 50 state total (12%), but Arizona’s tax revenue actually declined nearly 20% in the same time period.
In the 12 year time period from 2006 forward, the 50 state increase in revenue is up 9%, Kansas is only up by 2%, and Arizona’s tax revenue growth is exactly ZERO. For those who think that high taxes kill growth, it’s worthwhile to note that Massachusetts, a high tax state, has tax revenues 3% higher than the national average.

The difference between having a robust economy and a lousy one is the state’s investment in education. To a very large degree, states that spend the most on education have the best schools, the highest per capita income, and the lowest percentage of children living in poverty.


The chart below overlays a couple of statistics that prove that education is KEY almost all the time. As always, there will be some exceptions, since New York and Washington D.C spend the most per pupil on students. New York's schools are only average, and the D.C. area has some of the worst schools in the country.


rank 
H.S. grade rate  per pupil spending  bachelor's degrees low income per cap income  religious
1 Mass 13th 7th 1st - 43.4% 26.70% 61,000 50
2 N.J. 2nd 3rd 3rd - 39.7% 29.40% 60,000 19
3 N.H.  9th 10th 8th - 36.9 % 22.80% 55,000 50
4 Conn. 15th 2nd- $18.958 5th - 38.7 % 29.30% 67,000 47
5 VT 11th 4th - $17,873 7th - 38.3 % 33.00% 48,000 48
6 Minn 34th 17th 9th 28.30% 51,000 35
7 VA 20th 24th 5th - 38.7 % 30.60% 52,000 14
8 WY 38th 6th 37th 34.40% 55,000 22
9 NE 4th 18th 21st 36.40% 48,000 22
10 IA 1st - 91.3% 36th 32nd 32.80% 45,000 19
H.S. grade rate  per pupil spending  adults with bachelors degree % of low income  per cap income 
11 UT 26th WORST - $6953 12th 31.50% 39,000 12
12 MD 12th 12th 3rd - 39.7% 28.80% 56,000 2
13 ND 13th 15th 25th 27.70% 54,000 27
14 PA 21st 9th 23rd 35.40% 49,000 27
15 CO 44th 37th 2nd - 41.% 30.90% 50,000 41
16 WI 9th 2rd 26th 33.90% 46,000 44
17 Wash 39th 21st 11th 32.40% 51,000 44
18 Ind. 19th 33rd 40th 39.80% 41,000 22
19 KS 23rd 31st 14th 38.00% 46,000 19
20 SD 27th 39th 34th 34.60% 45,000 16
H.S. grade rate  per pupil spending  adults with bachelors degree % of low income  per cap income 
21 ME 17th 16th 20th 31.70% 42,000 48
22 Mont 24th 25th 19th 37.80% 41,000 39
23 Ohio 28th 19th 35th 40.00% 43,000 17
24 ILL 25th 13th 13th 36.60% 49,000 33
25 Del 25th 11th 22nd 37.40% 48,000 32
26 NY 37th HIGHEST-$23K 10th 38.90% 58,000 43
27 FL 36th 27th 27th 45.20% 44,000 10
28 NC 22nd 44th 25th 42.50% 41,000 10
29 RI 30th 8th 17th 32.40% 51,000 35
30 MO 6th 29th 30th 40.50% 43,000 15
H.S. grade rate  per pupil spending  adults with bachelors degree % of low income  per cap income 
31 Hawaii 31st 14th 18th 27.10% 48,000 41
32 KY 7th 32nd 45th 42.50% 39,000 13
33 TX 5th 40th 28th 44.40% 47,000 11
34 Idaho 39th 49th 49th 41.50% 38,000 33
35 GA 43rd 35th 25th 43.00% 41,000 8
36 Tenn 8th 43rd 38th 43.90% 42,000 3
37 Oregon 47th 28th 14th 38.10% 43,000 39
38 Mich 39th 20th 30th 40.50% 42,000 27
39 Ark 17th 34th 47th 48.80% 39,000 5
40 CA 29th 22nd 16th 39.50% 53,000 35
H.S. grade rate  per pupil spending  adults with bachelors degree % of low income  per cap income 
41 SC 32nd 30th 35th 46.50% 38,000 6
42 OK 35th 46th 42nd 47.00% 44,000 9
43 WV 3rd- 89.8% 25th lowest - 20.2% 46.30% 37,000 7
44 Alaska 46th 5th 33rd 33.30% 56,000 44
45 AZ 42nd 47th - $7613 29th 44.80% 39,000 27
46 Alabama 16th 38th 42nd 46.20% 39,000 1 - 77%
47 NV 49th 41st 44th 41.60% 42,000 35
48 Miss 33rd 45th 49th 51.20% 35,000 1 - 77%
49 LA 45th 27th 46th 49.30% 44,000 4
50 NM lowest - 71% 36th 39th 52.90% 38,000 18
   
51 DC 28,000 71,000 27
U.S. 48,000
H.S. grade rate  per pupil spending  adults with bachelors degree % of low income  per cap income 
As a general rule, the states that have the best-funded schools also have the highest per capita income. The states that are miserly when it comes to education have per capita income that is as much as $30,000 less than the most prosperous states. They also have the highest percentage of children living in poverty. Both New Mexico and Mississippi have more than 50% of their children living in poverty.


If your life is feeling like it’s a dead end, the logical response is to ask for help from a higher power, which is why 77% of the population of Alabama and Mississippi consider themselves to be “very religious” – which makes them prey to religious hucksters.


John Oliver produced a show about 3 years ago that gave more insight into the problem:


Finland now has the best public schools in the world, and a large part of the reason is that teaching is a highly regarded profession, and teachers are paid very well.


In contract, too many teachers in America do not get the respect that they deserve. Arizona does not have the lowest average teacher salary, but it is close to the bottom, with an average of $47,456, for a ranking of 47. South Dakota is the worst, with an average of $40,934, and the highest average salary is in New York, which has an average of $77,629, only slightly above the District of Columbia, which has an average of  $75,490.

Since I work as a substitute teacher most days of the week, I see firsthand how hard teachers have to work. Part of that work involves class size, and Arizona has the 2nd highest average number of students per class in the country, at 23.8. Only Nevada is higher.

Due to poor pay, and difficult working conditions, many states have trouble attracting teachers. As of September of 2018, nearly 1 in 4 Arizona teaching positions are not filled. The teacher walkout last spring was a desperate attempt by the teachers to recover some of $1 billion that state had cut from education in the last decade, and they succeeded – at least to a degree.


There is a very old saying that if you want to get water out of that well, you need to prime the pump. By the same token, if you want GREAT economic growth in your state, you first have to “prime the pump” – by investing in education.















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