I can’t quite say it enough, but once again, the economic opportunities that our tax and business environment afford us as individuals is really a great thing, and it’s giving us great publicity during these tough economic times. A recent article in the LA Times displays the headline “What Recession? Places like Sioux Falls, S.D., Prove Resilient.”
During good times, many other states have chosen to tax their citizens and businesses more and more and set up extensive and inefficient social welfare programs. When rough times hit, states find they do not have the tax base to afford all the programs they have promised to their citizens. Oppressive business taxes also cut into business’ ability to hire more people and also avoid layoffs. Whereas we had a unemployment rate of 4.6 percent (February 2009), states like Michigan and California are around 12 and 10 percent, respectively.
Our modest social services, combined with a business-friendly environment, low taxes, and a very neighborly attitude have given us the means to help us help ourselves and our neighbors, as well as limiting how high our unemployment rises in bad times.
To put it in perspective, even during the peak of the United States growth and good times over the past few years (2005, 2006, 2007), national unemployment fell to a low of 4.6 percent, which is what South Dakota’s ROSE to in the midst of a severe recession.