Monday, July 11, 2022
For decades, states have competed with one another for businesses by touting local economic advantages in areas like taxation, development incentives, workforce quality, and regulatory policy. Occasionally, states would also pitch themselves to firms on more general principles like quality of life and public investment in schools and infrastructure. Now the battle for jobs and for wealthier residents has taken a new turn, reflecting the increasingly intense cultural wars playing out in America. Facing a steadily more difficult economic battlefield, governors of Democratic-led states are pitching businesses based on social issues: access to abortion, transgender rights, and voting laws. Blue-state officials are hoping to lure firms that object to red-state legislation restricting abortion, revising voting practices, or banning biological males from competing in female athletics. The stakes are high because business and residential migratory patterns, and the economic gains that go with them, have shifted massively toward Republican-led states in post-pandemic America.