We’re Twice as Smart of the People of Shelbyville

Harley-Davidson continues to tour business friendly states to re-locate its York plant that employs over 2,000 workers – among the four options considered are Shelbyville, Indiana and Shelbyville, Kentucky. I imagine the final meeting between Harley and York officials might look something like this Simpsons’ scene, in which Lyle Lanley sells a Monorail by threatening to go to Shelbyville, hooking Mayor Quimby (channeling Gov. Rendell) and the crowd with a song and dance. (Hat tip to Simpsons aficionado Ryan Shafik of the Lincoln Institute).

So what do these other states have that Pennsylvania doesn’t? How about lower taxes and worker freedom. Pennsylvania has both the 2nd highest corporate income tax rate in the U.S. – 2nd highest in the world as a matter of fact. Pennsylvania is also one of few states that also hits businesses with a Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, which even Gov. Rendell acknowledges is a huge impediment to keeping businesses in Pennsylvania.

Compulsory unionism is also driving jobs to other states. Business location expert John Boyd explains, “This spring that the trend for company relocation within the United States has been from the North to the South, where a big attraction is Right-to-Work laws in southern states.”

And AFP points out that Right-to-Work states experienced a 17.6% increase in job growth compared to an 8.9% increase in Union shop states from 1997-2007.