New Report Shows $100 Buys More in Right-To-Work States

Published July 10, 2015

The Tax Foundation released a report today showing how much $100 buys in each state.  The same $100 can buy you comparatively more in a low-price state than a high-price state, which shows the true cost of living.

Not surprisingly, states with right-to-work laws prohibiting forced unionization stack the list of the states where $100 goes the furthest. Out of the five lowest price states, the top four are right-to-work.  Expand that list to the 25 lowest price states, and all but five are right-to-work states.  And of the 25 states with right-to-work laws that make it illegal to fire a worker if they decline to join a union, only one (Virginia) is pricey enough that the real value of $100 is less than $100.

Keep this in mind the next time organized labor complains about “right-to-work-for-less” laws.  They say workers in right-to-work states make less than employees in forced union membership states.  But as the Tax Foundation report shows, right-to-work states generally have a significantly lower cost of living. The same income will typically buy a much better standard of living for a family living in a right-to-work state than in a forced unionism state.

When the cost of living is accounted for, workers in right-to-work states enjoy higher real, spendable income than workers in forced union membership states.  And workers in the forced unionization states also must pay union dues, further reducing their take home pay.  Perhaps we should begin calling these “forced-to-work-for-less” states.

Erin Shannon ([email protected]) is the Director of the Center for Small Business at the Washington Policy Center.

An earlier version of this article appeared at Reprinted with permission.