Kentucky is a place mostly full of a lot of nothing. Nothing can be very pleasant for some purposes. But nothing makes no stuff, and making no stuff makes no jobs.
So why do businesses tend to shy away from Kentucky? Just don’t like Bluegrass – the region, the grass, or the music? Probably not.
One important reason can be found in a recent study published by the Tax Foundation. They examined various taxes that negatively affect businesses, and produced a ranking of states by their tax-friendliness to business. Here is a chart from that study:
The lower the ranking number, the more tax-friendly the state is to businesses. Kentucky is #22. But it is bordered on the north by Indiana at #11, and on the south by Tennessee at #14. And not all that far down the road is Florida, where it is both warm all the time and #5 in the tax-friendliness rankings.
The only bright spot for Kentucky – and it is a rather dim bright spot – is that our neighbor to the north, Ohio, is a miserable #39. Any wonder businesses are leaving Ohio? But they are not coming from there to Kentucky. Why should they?
Kentuckians seem to worry (or rejoice) over college basketball rankings. That’s fine, but if they pay more attention to things that really matter for human prosperity, they would try to improve our ranking in this important contest. We have been losing at this for far too long here in Kentucky, the land of taxes.