If you check out Western Kentucky University’s new Center for Applied Economics online, here’s some things you will find out about the commonwealth and its economic vitality:
- Kentucky’s economy relies more heavily on manufacturing than all of the surrounding states other than Indiana. The commonwealth is 59 percent more dependent on manufacturing than the national economy.
- Notice how Kentucky’s growth lags behind neighboring states:
- Persistent small differences in growth rates become a big deal over time. For instance, while Tennessee only grew at a 1.4 percent rate higher than Kentucky per year between 1997 and 2008, it added up to a 16 percent gap — or a per capita income difference of $29,000 (Ky.) and $33,000 (Tenn.) during that decade.
- Kentucky and Tennessee share 350 miles of border and are similiar in terms of size, geographical features and historical/cultural similarities. Yet Kentucky lags behind:
- Ky’s “aggregate personal income” has dropped from 86 percent of Tennessee’s to 64 percent over the last 45 years.
- Ky’s per capita income has dropped from 98 percent of Tennessee’s to 92 percent.
- Ky’s population has dropped from 82 percent to 70 percent of Tennessee’s.
- Between 2000 and 2005, more than three times as many people moved to Tennessee as moved to Ky. Could it be that lower tax rates, a reliance upon the sales tax rather than punitive income taxes, school choice and a right-to-work law really do have consequences?