At Governors Summit, Donohue Highlights States' Efforts to Attract Business and Create Jobs
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At the Chamber's Governors Summit, President and CEO Tom Donohue spoke to a bipartisan group of governors and local business leaders on the critical role of the free enterprise system in creating jobs and the role of state governments in creating an environment more friendly to business. He also discussed the release of the Chamber's second Enterprising States study that highlights specific strategies states are employing to remain competitive, create jobs, and grow the economy.
Excerpts from his speech are below the fold.
The importance of the private sector is self-evident—it’s the only thing that can create the 20 million jobs we need in the next decade to make up for those lost in the recession and to accommodate a growing population. Companies are creating the products, innovations, and services people at home and abroad want to buy, and that’s fundamentally what drives our economy and jobs.
The state level is where the rubber meets the road. That’s where the tough decisions are made. Remember, states have to balance their budgets—they can’t just print more money like the federal government. As Justice Brandeis said, states are the “laboratories of democracy.” You are more likely to get commonsense solutions, innovation, experimentation, and bipartisanship at the state and local level than here in D.C.
This we know for certain: A robust economic recovery will come from the ground up—from states and cities—and not top down from Washington.
What unites everyone here today is our pursuit of a single goal—creating jobs. But when it comes to job creation, the question is—what works and what doesn’t? What can states learn from one another? What are economically successful states doing that others should consider? What can the federal government learn from the innovation in our “laboratories of democracy”?
States have a choice in how to deal with these challenging times. They can tax, spend, and regulate. They can treat businesses as nothing more than cash cows. They can turn to an all-powerful federal government that will effectively make all their decisions for them.
Or, they can innovate, invest, and inspire—nurturing businesses, fostering job creation, and empowering people to make their own decisions.
One approach is based on the belief in a benevolent federal government that knows what’s best for us. The other is based on free enterprise, individual initiative, and personal responsibility.
The governors in attendence included John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado), Jack Markell (D-Delaware), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Terry Branstad (R-Iowa), Bob McDonnell (R-Virginia), and Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin).
On the findings from Enterprising States, Donohue said:
What do economically vibrant states do, according to the study? They keep taxes low. The study found high tax rates do not lead to either healthy economies or budgets. On the contrary, many states with the highest tax rates and most onerous regulatory regimes have experienced the worst budget crises. Taxpayers and businesses are leaving these states.
They target investments in infrastructure projects and create growth-friendly environments in communities. They work hard to attract science- and technology-based companies that will generate the jobs of tomorrow. They help companies large and small export. They welcome foreign direct investment, not shun it. They cultivate people through workforce development and strong schools.
So states have a choice—promote private enterprise and create jobs and growth, or embrace a statist agenda that will force businesses out of your state, repel capital, and decimate job growth.
This isn’t about partisan politics or rigid ideologies—it’s about what works.
Read Enterprising States to learn what is working to create jobs and grow state economies.