This op-ed by State Policy Network’s Ray Nothstine first ran in Governing.
Tonight, President Biden will address the 118th Congress in his second State of the Union address. The media and much of Washington, D.C., will be glued to their TVs and Twitter as the president outlines his agenda for the coming year. Like most of his policies, the president’s plan will include more top-down, one-size-fits-all federal solutions to the many problems that plague our country.
However, effective policies and proactive reforms are continuing closer to home, and the administration should take note. It’s the states, not Washington, that are advancing policy reforms that improve lives and livelihoods. We even see the fruits of these efforts as people relocate to states reflective of their own values.
North Carolina, now one of the quintessential electoral swing states and an in-migration powerhouse, is lowering the state income tax from a top rate of 7.75 percent in 2013 to 3.99 percent by 2027. Ten other states are already set to reduce their income tax rates in 2023. There are many positive economic benefits to lower taxes, but the morality of allowing individuals more ownership over their human capital is indispensable.
Parents are demanding changes to education, too. It’s no surprise that in a highly pluralistic society families have differing views on what education means. More and more states are delivering through school choice and codifying parental rights.
Iowa and Utah enacted robust legislation essentially giving families universal choice on where they want their kids to attend school. As more and more parents re-examine the purpose of education, instead of merely being trapped in the same arguments over expenditures, demand for school choice policies is only going to expand. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas are just some of the other states expected to expand school choice in 2023.
Read the full piece at Governing here.