Chuck DeVore
 
Chuck DeVore is Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Chuck DeVore served in the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2010 where he was Vice Chairman of the Committee on Revenue and Taxation, he also served on the Budget Committee

DeVore is a lieutenant colonel of military intelligence in the U.S. Army (retired) Reserve

DeVore served as a Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs in the Reagan-era Pentagon
 

Other Voices  JUNE 12, 2015
Texas shows policy is better than luck
BY CHUCK DEVORE
Special to the Star-Telegram
 
 
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Texas critics are fond of attributing the Lone Star State’s bull run in jobs to oil and gas, allowing them to discount the role of public policy and claim Texas’ success is due to nothing more than geologic good fortune.
It’s true that oil and gas extraction and mining produces about 14 percent of the Texas economy, but this is about two-thirds of what it was back in 1981.
Only about 2.7 percent of the state’s workforce is engaged in extracting resources from Texas bedrock, down from 5 percent in 1981.
The fact is that the Texas economy is far more diversified than it was in the recent past. This diversification has been driven by a competitive state tax structure, a light regulatory burden and an improved lawsuit climate.
The Legislature can’t set the international price for oil, but it can improve Texas’ competitiveness, making the state a more attractive place to expand operations, hire people and start a business and live the American dream.
To that end, the just-completed session of the 84th Legislature has to be considered a success.
Foremost among the accomplishments was the 25 percent reduction in the business margin tax — a savings to business, large and small, of $2.6 billion.
Property taxes were cut by about $1.2 billion by raising the homestead exemption on school property taxes from $15,000 to $25,000, pending a vote of the people in November. Occupational licensing and other fees were reduced by $200 million
Total taxpayer savings will be $4 billion over two years.
Further, a measure to bring more accountability to local property tax hikes passed. The bill requires a supermajority of a local taxing entity to approve an increase in property taxes.
The Legislature also restrained spending, keeping budget growth within the projected increase of population and inflation. This restraint will keep government from becoming unaffordable over time.
The size and cost of government aren’t the only two areas that impact people: rules, regulations and the criminal justice system do as well.
Onerous and confusing occupational licensing requirements can be a barrier for many Texans, keeping them from advancing in their careers of choice.
This legislative session saw a relaxation of restrictions on barbers and cosmetologists, while more than a dozen attempts to regulate additional occupations were turned aside.
Lastly, the Legislature enacted several important criminal justice reforms. It also created a commission to review laws with criminal penalties that are outside of the penal code, as well as recommend the removal of redundant or unnecessary laws.
Property crime value thresholds were adjusted for inflation for the first time in 22 years, with a provision enacted to keep those thresholds current with inflation going forward.
In addition, the Legislature approved a second-chances bill, allowing certain ex-offenders who didn’t do time in prison to file a petition of nondisclosure five years after their conviction was set aside by a judge, assuming no other offenses were committed.
This measure balances public safety and a possibility for redemption, allowing ex-offenders to be a more productive member of society.
With the ongoing weakness in the price of oil, the Legislature’s work will go a long way toward showing critics that Texas’ success has more to do with good public policy than with good luck.
CHUCK DEVORE IS VICE PRESIDENT OF POLICY AT THE TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION.
Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/other-voices/article23915161.html#storylink=cpy
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Texas shows policy is better than luck

BY CHUCK DEVORE - Special to the Star-Telegram - June 12, 2015


Texas critics are fond of attributing the Lone Star State’s bull run in jobs to oil and gas, allowing them to discount the role of public policy and claim Texas’ success is due to nothing more than geologic good fortune.


It’s true that oil and gas extraction and mining produces about 14 percent of the Texas economy, but this is about two-thirds of what it was back in 1981.


Only about 2.7 percent of the state’s workforce is engaged in extracting resources from Texas bedrock, down from 5 percent in 1981.


The fact is that the Texas economy is far more diversified than it was in the recent past. This diversification has been driven by a competitive state tax structure, a light regulatory burden and an improved lawsuit climate.


The Legislature can’t set the international price for oil, but it can improve Texas’ competitiveness, making the state a more attractive place to expand operations, hire people and start a business and live the American dream.


To that end, the just-completed session of the 84th Legislature has to be considered a success.


Foremost among the accomplishments was the 25 percent reduction in the business margin tax — a savings to business, large and small, of $2.6 billion.


Property taxes were cut by about $1.2 billion by raising the homestead exemption on school property taxes from $15,000 to $25,000, pending a vote of the people in November. 


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/other-voices/article23915161.html#storylink=cpy

Investor's Business Daily


Regulations Could Top Taxes as an Enemy of Small Business


By Chuck DeVore, June 9, 2015.


A populist tide may swamp expectations for the 2016 presidential campaign. This current is running in both camps, as many candidates seek to distance themselves from Wall Street, big business and banks.


Americans have long been skeptical that their interests align with business. Less well-known and understood is that many big businesses are comfortable with big government — in fact, much of the time, big business works hand-in-glove with big government, using legions of lawyers (especially tax attorneys) and lobbyists to shape government tax and regulatory policy to their advantage.


Small businesses can't afford attorneys and lobbyists. For instance, a 2009 study commissioned by the California legislature estimated the total cost of legal compliance for every small business in the Golden State was $134,122 annually.


The federal government imposes plenty of rules as well. A few days ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a four-page edict on transgender bathrooms, writing that "gender identity is an intrinsic part of each person's identity and everyday life."


The Feds suggest that businesses let employees use whatever restrooms they feel like using. The implied threat is that if they don't, they may get sued.


For a large business, complying with regulations is often just a minor cost of doing business. For a small business, regulatory compliance can be an enterprise-killer.


For the rest of the piece, see: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/060915-756512-small-businesses-need-freedom-from-regulation.htm?

Investor's Business Daily

California’s Unsustainable Comeback

Is California really heading into economic boom times again, or is the Golden State setting itself up for another bust?

By Chuck DeVore, JUNE 5, 2015


Much has been written about California’s tough economic times over the past few years. The recession that hit in December 2007 slammed particularly hard into California.



From a nonfarm employment peak in July 2007 to February 2010, California shed 1.3 million jobs—idling almost 9 percent of its workforce. It wasn’t until February 2014 that California’s employment numbers recovered to 2007 levels. Year-over-year, California employment is up 2.9 percent through April, besting the overall U.S. picture with its modest 2.2 percent gain, and even big-state rival Texas, at 2.5 percent.



California’s state government is even running a $3 billion surplus, on top of an almost $2 billion deposit into a new rainy-day fund, leading to predictable liberal twin cries: hike taxes and ramp up spending on welfare, education, and the environment. But, is California really heading into economic boom times again, or is the Golden State setting itself up for another bust?



High Tax Intake Doesn’t Mean Economic Health

A common error is that of conflating a state’s budget with the overall health of the state’s economy. A government can enjoy a surplus through any combination of spending and revenue that results in more money coming in than going out.


For the rest of the piece, see: http://thefederalist.com/2015/06/05/californias-unsustainable-comeback/

In Texas V. California, Results, Not Intentions, Matter Most
Investor's Business Daily, November 28, 2014

When it comes to poverty, the two biggest states, California and Texas, offer a vivid contrast: Results matter more than well-meaning intentions, and work beats welfare.


Once again, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 23.4%, according to a new Census Bureau report that takes into account the variable cost of housing from state to state as well as noncash benefits such as housing vouchers and food stamps. (The official poverty measure assumes the same costs throughout America.)


This broad poverty measure shows that Texas' poverty rate dropped to 15.9%, the national average. Along with the nation's highest poverty rate, California, with one-eighth of America's population, has one-third of the nation's welfare recipients.


Its state and local taxes are a whopping 52% higher as a share of income than Texas'. In fact, California could completely eliminate its income tax, the nation's highest, and it would still pull more money from its residents than does Texas.


The states where 1-in-5 Americans call home are both minority majority states.


Hispanics make up 38% of the population in both, while 12% of Texans are black vs. 7% in California.


In spite of California's generous welfare programs designed to lift people out of material poverty and its heavy progressive tax burden intended to "spread the wealth around," the Golden State has 47% more people living in poverty on a per-capita basis than does Texas.


Breaking down the numbers by the three largest demographic groups, an average of 9.7% of white, non-Hispanics in Texas were in poverty from 2009 to 2012 vs. 14.8% in California.


Among blacks in Texas, 19.9% were in poverty, tied with North Carolina for the lowest rate among the 12 most populous states vs. 30.1% in California. For Hispanics of Mexican national origin, the poverty rate was 22.6% in Texas vs. 34% in California.


As for schools, according to the U.S. Education Department, Texas tied with Nebraska, Vermont and Wisconsin for the nation's second highest high school graduation rate at 88%. Iowa was first. California came in 30th, with a high school graduation rate of 78%, just behind West Virginia.


But graduation from high school means little if it's accomplished through social promotion. In the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Education Department's national standardized test, Texas also bested California in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading. (California students do typically outperform their Texas counterparts on the SAT — but that's because a far higher percentage of Texas students take the SAT in the first place.)


If the economy is strong, a solid education prepares young people for the workplace. From 2009 to 2012, 69% of Texans ages 24 to 64 were employed vs. 67% in California. Among African-Americans, the employment gap was huge, with 63% employed in Texas vs. 56% in California.


Since 2009, as California's job market recovery has added 618,000 jobs, Texas' has added 1.1 million. But California is larger than Texas. As a portion of the employment base, Texas has seen a 10% expansion of jobs in the past 5-1/2 years, more than double California's anemic 4% rate of job growth.


Once people have work, their paychecks go further in Texas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Lone Star State's real per capita personal income in 2012 was $41,733, 7% higher than California's $38,888 — and that was before taxes.


California's big-government model is one well-worn path — and it isn't working for the poor. The Texas model offers a compelling alternative: A dynamic economy with robust job growth fostered by low taxes and a predictable regulatory environment is far better at lifting people out of poverty.


For human dignity and well-being, a job beats a government program every time.

The last major round of welfare reform was completed in 1996. It's time to revisit how best to reduce poverty in America.


Policymakers would be well advised to look to Texas for inspiration.


• DeVore is vice president of policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and served as a California state assemblyman from 2004 to 2010.

America’s Foreign Policy Must Be Sustainable In Public Opinion, Too

The Federalist, August 4, 2014

As 2016 looms, the cadres of experts who would staff a Republican administration continue to wrestle with the lessons of recent history for our current foreign policy challenges. Dozens of articles labor to set the record straight, criticize the president, and offer advice for securing American national interests. This process is needed and important: achieving consensus about what foreign policies best protect liberty at home is no less crucial than settling on tax and regulatory reforms to promote prosperity within our borders...

For the entire article, see The Federalist

The Texas model works for jobs and business

By Chuck DeVore

(This letter to the editor appeared on September 27, 2013 in the Washington Post.)

Regarding Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Sept. 18 op-ed, “The secret of our success”:

Attacks on Texas aren’t really about Gov. Rick Perry’s job-hunting expeditions. Rather, such attacks are, as Mr. O’Malley suggested, proxies for the national debate on the efficacy of lean government vs. large government. So, given the stakes for Americans, is Maryland or Texas a better model to follow?

First, let’s be frank: Maryland is a federal colony. Its economy rises or falls with the federal behemoth in Washington. As a result, its example is utterly unrepeatable across the United States. From January 2007 to August 2013, Maryland lost 22,900 private-sector jobs but gained 33,500 government jobs, the vast majority being highly paid federal workers, for a net of 10,600 jobs. By comparison, Texas added 958,700 jobs, or 90 times more than Maryland.

The Maryland governor’s shopworn bromides about Texas included this whopper: “Texas ranks 49th in high school graduation.” False. The Education Departmentreports that 86?percent of Texas high school students graduate, the nation’s fourth-highest rate, vs. 83?percent in Maryland. The misleading statistic Mr. O’Malley used refers to the number of adults with high school diplomas, which is solely because of the large number of immigrants attracted to Texas’s thriving economy.

Mr. O’Malley also insisted that Texas is poor. But federal reports ignore the cost of living, which is 31?percent higher in Maryland than it is in Texas.

The Texas model, not Maryland’s, is more relevant for America.

Chuck DeVore, Dripping Springs, Tex.

The writer is vice president for policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Chuck DeVore on Fox News
Chuck DeVore appeared on Fox News in May 2013 to discuss how California's overall level of taxation is so high that, if the Golden State eliminated its income tax, with the the highest tax bracket in the nation, they would still have higher taxes than does Texas. 
Chuck DeVore's most recent book has been published. In it the Texas transplant from California expounds upon his insights about why his adopted home is booming while other big states are floundering under the weight of burdensome regulation and taxation.

"The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America" is available on Amazon.com as both a hard copy and downloadable version for Kindle.

Chuck appeared with John Stossel on Fox News to discuss Texas vs. California and his book, "The Texas Model."
A proud new Texan by way of California's high taxes and burdensome regulations. (Texas' veterans' plate is the same cost as a regular plate; in California, veterans' plates cost $30 per year.)
Chuck DeVore is a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel
The DeVore Family