Texas has been teaching some lessons to which the rest of the nation should pay heed.
They are lessons that are particularly vivid when you contrast Texas, the nation’s second most populous state, with the most populous, California. Both were once Mexican territory, secured for the United States in the 1840s. Both have grown prodigiously over the past half-century. Both have populations that today are about one-third Hispanic.
But they differ vividly in public policy and in their economic progress — or lack of it — over the last decade. California has gone in for big government in a big way. Democrats hold big margins in the legislature largely because affluent voters in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area favor their liberal positions on cultural issues.
Texas is a different story. Texas has low taxes — and no state income taxes — and a much smaller government. Its legislature meets for only 90 days every two years, compared with California’s year-round legislature. Its fiscal condition is sound. Public employee unions are weak or nonexistent.
But Texas seems to be delivering superior services. Its teachers are paid less than California’s. But its test scores — and with a demographically similar school population — are higher. California’s once fabled freeways are crumbling and crowded. Texas has built gleaming new highways in metro Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.
In the meantime, Texas’ economy has been booming. Unemployment rates have been below the national average for more than a decade, as companies small and large generate new jobs.
More than anything else I think it’s the part time legislature that prevented Texas from being another California. Texas congresscritters have to live in the real world and have real jobs. That helps keep them from passing stupid laws like the ones that have turned California into another socialist hell hole.
Imagine how much better off we would be if the US Senate and House Of Representatives only met for 90 days every two years.