Kansas or New Jersey: Which state is on the better road to prosperity?

By Derrick Sontag.

What’s the difference between Kansas and New Jersey? One answer that comes to mind: unlike the comparison to our neighboring states, Kansas has a more limited, fiscally conservative government than the Garden State. Or so we thought.

Let’s look at the actions of the two states over the last few weeks. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in response to a budget deficit approaching $11 billion, has proposed a 5 percent reduction in state spending. This is a result of his campaign promise to force government to live within its means, a pledge that led him to defeat an incumbent governor. This and voters being fed up with an excessive tax burden.

There are some pressuring Gov. Christie to raise taxes but he has said that to accede to tax increases would “kill a job market already on life support.” He went on to say, “Mark my words today: if a tax increase is sent to my desk, I’ll veto it.”

How do Christie’s actions compare to what’s happened in Kansas? In response to a budget gap of more than $500 million, Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson threatened to veto any budget that hit his desk that didn’t rely on a tax increase. Two weeks later a coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans complied with his demands by passing the second largest tax increase in the history of our state, a sales tax increase designed to fund a spending increase of more than $200 million.

There have been claims the tax increase will create economic growth and job creation, despite a well-respected economist’s study indicating quite the contrary. It’s as if legislators are echoing the economic growth pledges heard in Washington D.C. when the stimulus plan passed. Instead, that D.C. plan has led to 10 percent unemployment and, according to initial projections, will result in our GDP being lower ten years from now than if Congress had done nothing at all.

Apparently Gov. Christie and a majority of the voters in New Jersey understand the economic truism of “the more you tax something the less of it you’re going to get.” They can point to years of fiscally liberal practices and an unbearable tax burden.

So what’s the difference between the two states? We’ll always have a beautiful landscape and friendly people. But let’s hope New Jersey doesn’t end up being the state with a better road to prosperity.

Derrick Sontag is the Kansas state director of Americans for Prosperity. He lives in Topeka.

4 Comments

  • Ha, ha, ha Derrick, That’s really funny; N.J. – The road to better prosperity, I really appriciate the laugh. But honestly you don’t know how good you have it when it comes to comparing Kansas to N.J. I recently joined the mass exodus of people leaving N.J. because of…well it’s a long list but primarily the property taxes are the highest in the nation, car insurance is nearly the most expensive in the Country, the state has become unaffordable for a huge number of long time residents. As far as the ummm, the, you know,… coruption, shhhh, hopefully the new Governor will make some long overdue improvements. Meanwhile, although I’m still learning about Wichita and Kansas, I am much happier and find the affordability factor not even close compared to Jersey. Be well and Happy Memorial Day to all. – Mike

  • Good luck to Gov. Christie, as he tries to battle the progressive NJ legislature and unions to try and bring his State back from the brink.

    Instead of raising taxes, the ticket to recovery is in cutting taxes, especially for small business (employers), encouraging growth of their companies, and creating jobs.

    I hope we can get our progressive Kansas legislature turned around and save Kansas from being on the brink too!

  • Mike, the article was called “Which state is on the better ROAD to prosperity.” NJ is definitely in bad shape; there’s no doubt about that. But everything I’ve heard about Chris Christie is great. He is taking all the right steps to turn NJ around–steps that our politicians in Kansas will not take. In addition to pledging not to raise taxes, He’s done things conservatives like to talk about but rarely have the guts to actually do–like taking on the abortion lobby by proposing to cut Planned Parenthood funding from the budget, and even taking on the teachers’ union (!!) in order to try to cut costs and improve education.

    I wish we had a governor just like Chris Christie. Hopefully he will be able to accomplish a lot of his goals for improving NJ and that the legislature won’t hamper him too much.

  • I realize this might be a dead page… but google took me here, so I’ll post in the hopes that some soul searcher find it…

    Kansas>New Jersey in every way. I’m from Wichita and moved to central NJ over 1 year ago. The people here are rude and inconsiderate, everything is too expensive, driving anywhere is a test of your patience…. I really don’t have anything positive about this state or the people who reside in it. I’d rather live in any other state… except Missouri and Nebraska.

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