Well, yesterday’s rankings don’t look so good for Massachusetts as we dropped from 6th place overall in 2011 to 28th place overall in 2012 (and dropped to 49th in the cost of doing business). CNBC noted this was the largest drop of any state. As with unfavorable revisions of jobs numbers, we can expect the Patrick administration to have some explanation as to why this data, which was previously an accurate reflection of how good our state is for businesses, is no longer trustworthy. I can only hope this explanation will be as good as Secretary Greg Bialecki’s glorious “the old number feels like the better description.”
This newly unflattering data could also prove problematic for Governor Patrick as he continues to travel the nation as a top surrogate for President Obama (and top attack dog against former governor Mitt Romney).
Patrick’s message on the stump has been that the things President Obama wants to do for the nation (investment in infrastructure, education and innovation) are the same things that have helped Massachusetts “lead the nation out of the recession.” Since Patrick took office, CNBC’s ranking of Massachusetts on Education, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Technology and Innovation have all declined. On Education and Technology and Innovation we are still in the top ten (3rd and 7th respectively, down from 1st and 4th in 2007), but in Transportation and Infrastructure, we now rank 45th in the nation (down from 38 in 2007 and a peak of 29 in 2011).
Massachusetts Rankings in CNBC's Top States for Business Reports:
|Cost of Biz||40||41||40||39||41||49|
|Quality of Life||3||15||6||6||10||11|
|Infra and Transp||38||36||31||39||29||45|
|Tech and Innov||4||4||5||3||3||7|
|Access to Capital||2||2||2||2||2||1|
|Cost of Living||43||42||36||40||41||41|
The fact that Massachusetts has declined in most categories since Patrick took office also undermines his attacks on Mitt Romney on behalf of the Obama campaign. In addition to leaving Massachusetts with a lower unemployment rate than we now have, it would appear that Governor Romney left Massachusetts a better state for businesses than it has become under Governor Patrick’s leadership.
Of course, Patrick tends not to let facts that contradict his narrative get in the way of good rhetoric, so I don’t expect he’ll actually change his stump speech. But the Obama campaign should be wary of touting Massachusetts' economy under Governor Patrick as a model to emulate. The idea of a second Obama term’s doing for the national economy what Patrick’s second term seems to be doing for Massachusetts is reason enough to vote for Mitt Romney.