Texas is a red state, Republican dominated, and business friendly. California is a blue state, Democratic dominated, and not so business friendly.
Writing in the Federalist, Chuck DeVore, who served in the California State Assembly before moving to Texas to work with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, attempted to explain why two large states with similar ethnic demographics went in such opposite direction. DeVore concluded that the secret resides in the fact that members of the Texas Legislature work only part time, having regular jobs as business owners or partners in law firms. By contrast, members of the California Legislature are full-time politicians, and few come from a private-sector background.
The statistics that DeVore cites are eye opening. Four percent of Texas legislators come from a government background, while 58 percent come from business and 30 percent are lawyers. 49 percent of California legislators come from a government background, 28 percent from business, and just eight percent from the law. Some differences exist between Republicans and Democrats in both cases.
According to DeVore's thesis, members of the Texas Legislature tend to pass laws that favor business because they have to live under those very same laws. California lawmakers tend to write legislature that is burdensome to the private sector because they are insulated from the effects of the laws they pass.
Texas lawmakers are citizen legislators who go to Austin to legislate and then go home to run their private affairs. California lawmakers are professional politicians who stay in Sacramento and legislate full time. DeVore suggests that this structural difference, even more than the dominance of one party over another, explains the differences between the two states' political cultures.
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