Practically every day there’s a new release from WalletHub, the personal finance site which has made a reputation for itself for cranking out rankings of the states on practically every metric imaginable. Some are noteworthy, some aren’t.
The one today is noteworthy. It’s a ranking of taxpayer ROI (return on investment), judging which states are essentially stealing money from their taxpayers and which states actually do a decent job of turning government revenue into quality outcomes.
And naturally, WalletHub says Louisiana is stealing its taxpayers blind. We rank 43rd in taxpayer ROI, 8th worst in the nation.
Here’s what WalletHub has to say about Louisiana in its rankings…
- 43rd – Overall ROI
- 11th – Total Taxes per Capita (Population Aged 18+)
- 41st – Education
- 45th – Health
- 48th – Safety
- 49th – Economy
- 48th – Infrastructure & Pollution
Here’s what else they’ve got to say: Louisiana, overall, ranks 50th – dead last – in Overall Government Services.
So you’re paying the 11th least in the country per capita in taxes, which would sound pretty good until you recognize that Louisiana’s neighbors almost all outrank us (Florida is 1st, Tennessee is 4th, Alabama is 7th, Texas 8th, Georgia 9th; Mississippi is just behind us in 15th), and you’re getting the worst state and local government performance in America. The schools are bottom 10, the healthcare system that John Bel Edwards has blown up into half the state’s budget is sixth from the bottom, you’re bottom three in public safety thanks to absolute runaway crime in Louisiana’s cities, the only place in America with a worse economy than Louisiana is West Virginia, and you’re third from the bottom in infrastructure. They included pollution in that last ranking, which might drag Louisiana down but for the fact we were already at the bottom.
State government here does absolutely nothing well, with the notable exception that electric rates in Louisiana are the lowest in America thanks to the miracle of natural gas and the near-miracle of a Public Service Commission which generally knows what it’s doing.
But there is very little concrete being done about this disgraceful performance. We elected the most conservative legislature in Louisiana’s history last fall, and that did pan out into a tort reform bill passing this year which should let some steam out of car insurance rates – State Farm already announced a 10 percent rate cut to its Louisiana auto policyholders, which might partly come from the new legislation and is also partly from less driving in the state do to COVID-19.
But that legislature did nothing on the state budget. It gave Edwards pretty much everything he asked for, and it went along with the charade where Edwards took the federal coronavirus relief money and used it to replace budget cuts in all the departments that could possibly be seen to be affected by the virus. They called it a “standstill” budget, but it certainly didn’t have any reform in it and there absolutely was no accountability imposed on the departments which have combined to produce the worst-performing state government, and the worst taxpayer ROI, in America.
Most of this stuff was known long before last year’s elections. Edwards is by no means the guy who invented this problem. Louisiana has been at the bottom of state government performance since Reconstruction, if not before, and certainly since Huey Long corrupted our political and governmental processes in the early 1930’s. What’s most irritating is that the voters here knew about it, voted for change in legislative elections and still returned Edwards, who comes straight out of Central Casting to personify the state’s corrupt and backwards status quo, to the governor’s mansion for four more years.
It’s all right here in the WalletHub study. And nothing is likely to change any time soon. And you wonder why Louisiana’s outmigration problems get worse and worse and worse.