Quoted at length to give both sides a fair shot... Discuss. (Okay, I'm just kidding. I hate it when people quote articles and just say, "Discuss.") Several thoughts occurred as I read all of this: Gov. Brownback is concerned about losing to other states. That's a refrain we hear over and over again from many politicians, and it's what spurs states to try to out-do each other with offers of lower taxes, giveaways to corporations, etc. But surely that's a ridiculous proposition. How low can you go in the service of trying to attract business? To paraphrase Gov. O'Malley, how far are you willing to gut your kids' education? How bad will you let your roads get? Continually cutting taxes reminds me a lot of that old saw about traffic deaths vs. speed limits. Yes, at 60 mph we have more traffic deaths than we'd like. Theoretically cutting the speed limit to 0 would prevent that...but does anybody seriously think that would be practical? Yet in conservativeland, we just keep blindly cutting and cutting, pretending we are oblivious to the results. Wherever that "line" is that indicates a perfect balance between tax rates and delivery of services, we fell below the line quite a while ago. We are now engaged in a battle of who gets screwed, and who doesn't, when it comes to budget cutting. Maryland's example seems much more practical. It doesn't surprise me that they've got an excellent credit rating, and it wouldn't surprise me if they have a more educated work force, and better infrastructure to boot. And that attracts business too. I often wish there were a realistic way in which states could, by the federal government, be restrained from trying to underbid each other to lure businesses. It's just such a losing game for them to be playing. At the very least, I wish that, in the barrage of other statistics the government throws at us all the time, there were some kind of official statistical "line" that was drawn, indicating that balance between taxation rates and delivery of services that I mentioned before. At the very least that could serve as a point of debate in elections. For example, candidate X can argue that he would like his state to adhere to that level, and argue that candidate Y wants the state to live dangerously below that. There would be complications to such a stat, of course. It would be slightly different for each state depending on cost of living...and there would be debate about what constitutes efficient "delivery of services". (Conservatives would argue for a paltry, bare-bones standard, while independents and liberals would argue for something more humane.) But it might help to at least have some sort of point of reference, instead of having conservatives tell us all the time that less is better.