Texas Seems Better Placed to Adapt Than California

This article appeared in the Special report section of the print edition under the headline “State of the nation”

….In the coming decade California and Texas face three main challenges. First, they must remain desirable places to do business, ensuring the creation of well-paid jobs and prosperity for their citizens. On this front Texas is better placed than California, but it cannot take for granted that it will maintain its edge over other states that levy no income tax and offer even lower costs. Second, they must educate their children better. As the number of poor, English-language learners grows in both states, this task takes on even greater significance.

Third, they must be mindful of the gap between the haves and the have-nots and deal with the inequality of income and opportunity that exist in both states. Although it has become more expensive to live in Texas in the past decade, it is still much more affordable than California.

The Golden State’s economy used to be a rising tide lifting all sorts of boats, says Joel Kotkin of Chapman University. “Now it’s a rising tide lifting a few yachts.”

Both states will also have to confront the gap in services and opportunity between their declining rural and growing urban communities.