Of the states without a state income tax, Texas and Florida head the list. Why is this important? The other states are Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, South Dakota and Washington, while New Hampshire and Tennessee tax investment income and dividends, but not income.
Of all these states, Texas and Florida Republicans claim that they do so, to "encourage growth," and "creating jobs." But in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, these states also NEED more federal money for recovery and rebuilding, and they need the money more frequently and they do less to either offset their own needs, nor do they do anything to replenish the coffers of the federal government, from which they beg. (Or demand or blackmail, whichever description you'd like to use).
Just prior to the landfall of Hurricane Harvey, a friend of mine in Houston was irate that Houston's Democratic mayor didn't order a citywide evacuation. While I was sympathetic to her feelings, I also realized that as a victim of Hurricane Sandy, 9/11 and the financial meltdown of 2008, I am FAR more aware of the preparation, implications and consequences of disasters in a mere 16 years, than ANY irate Republican.
I reminded her that a month after Katrina struck New Orleans, Hurricane Rita took aim at Houston, and Texans fled Houston faster than a Democrat threatening to tax Texas. And they all got on I-10 and I-45, and they all ran out of gas while sitting in 10mph speeds on the freeways. Has Texas done anything to increase gasoline supplies to those roads? Has Texas expanded capacity for everyday rush hour or evacuation flight? No, to both questions. Not enough, not with enough urgency and Texas, being staunchly Republican, is adverse to either following the example of their northern neighbors, or the preparation necessary for their citizens. Texas governors have been Republican. Their legislature and state houses have been Republican, their advocates in Washington, representatives and senators are Republican, and their service to their citizens have been demonstrably Republican.
This is not to slam all Republicans. Just that specific viewpoint that hatched in Texas. That they are "rugged individualists" and "can take care of their own." Let's be brutally honest. They can't. And they haven't been doing a good job at it. And they have been fleeing their responsibilities.
When Sandy struck the Northeast, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and New York prepared. These states STILL got swamped, but in the most economically viable part of the United States, they only requested $60 billion, received $51 billion, were rejected by Texas Republicans and have been in steady preparation mode for half a decade. Democrats and Republicans. Republicans who understand that if they don't bother to serve their constituencies, they will simply get beaten by Democrats who will. Houston on the other hand, had no option except to hunker down and take a beating.
As Irma takes aim at the entire state of Florida, I am impressed at how Republican governor Rick Scott, is working with focus with federal Republican led agencies, Democratic local mayors, the former Republican, now Democratic ex-governor Charlie Crist to evacuate the state.
Florida will STILL have to request more money from the federal government (I have always said: Minnesota never had a hurricane) to recover, but they are MITIGATING the potential impact of the storm. They can, because they can and will, and do prepare. They have Democrats prodding them to act, and their constituents are perfectly willing to vote Democrat if their Republican representatives start to believe that government, at any level, doesn't matter. It is a simple difference between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.