Chuck DeVore
Chuck DeVore is Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Chuck DeVore served in the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2010 where he was Vice Chairman of the Committee on Revenue and Taxation, he also served on the Budget Committee

DeVore is a lieutenant colonel of military intelligence in the U.S. Army (retired) Reserve

DeVore served as a Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs in the Reagan-era Pentagon

In Texas V. California, Results, Not Intentions, Matter Most
Investor's Business Daily, November 28, 2014

When it comes to poverty, the two biggest states, California and Texas, offer a vivid contrast: Results matter more than well-meaning intentions, and work beats welfare.

Once again, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 23.4%, according to a new Census Bureau report that takes into account the variable cost of housing from state to state as well as noncash benefits such as housing vouchers and food stamps. (The official poverty measure assumes the same costs throughout America.)

This broad poverty measure shows that Texas' poverty rate dropped to 15.9%, the national average. Along with the nation's highest poverty rate, California, with one-eighth of America's population, has one-third of the nation's welfare recipients.

Its state and local taxes are a whopping 52% higher as a share of income than Texas'. In fact, California could completely eliminate its income tax, the nation's highest, and it would still pull more money from its residents than does Texas.

The states where 1-in-5 Americans call home are both minority majority states.

Hispanics make up 38% of the population in both, while 12% of Texans are black vs. 7% in California.

In spite of California's generous welfare programs designed to lift people out of material poverty and its heavy progressive tax burden intended to "spread the wealth around," the Golden State has 47% more people living in poverty on a per-capita basis than does Texas.

Breaking down the numbers by the three largest demographic groups, an average of 9.7% of white, non-Hispanics in Texas were in poverty from 2009 to 2012 vs. 14.8% in California.

Among blacks in Texas, 19.9% were in poverty, tied with North Carolina for the lowest rate among the 12 most populous states vs. 30.1% in California. For Hispanics of Mexican national origin, the poverty rate was 22.6% in Texas vs. 34% in California.

As for schools, according to the U.S. Education Department, Texas tied with Nebraska, Vermont and Wisconsin for the nation's second highest high school graduation rate at 88%. Iowa was first. California came in 30th, with a high school graduation rate of 78%, just behind West Virginia.

But graduation from high school means little if it's accomplished through social promotion. In the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Education Department's national standardized test, Texas also bested California in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading. (California students do typically outperform their Texas counterparts on the SAT — but that's because a far higher percentage of Texas students take the SAT in the first place.)

If the economy is strong, a solid education prepares young people for the workplace. From 2009 to 2012, 69% of Texans ages 24 to 64 were employed vs. 67% in California. Among African-Americans, the employment gap was huge, with 63% employed in Texas vs. 56% in California.

Since 2009, as California's job market recovery has added 618,000 jobs, Texas' has added 1.1 million. But California is larger than Texas. As a portion of the employment base, Texas has seen a 10% expansion of jobs in the past 5-1/2 years, more than double California's anemic 4% rate of job growth.

Once people have work, their paychecks go further in Texas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Lone Star State's real per capita personal income in 2012 was $41,733, 7% higher than California's $38,888 — and that was before taxes.

California's big-government model is one well-worn path — and it isn't working for the poor. The Texas model offers a compelling alternative: A dynamic economy with robust job growth fostered by low taxes and a predictable regulatory environment is far better at lifting people out of poverty.

For human dignity and well-being, a job beats a government program every time.

The last major round of welfare reform was completed in 1996. It's time to revisit how best to reduce poverty in America.

Policymakers would be well advised to look to Texas for inspiration.

• DeVore is vice president of policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and served as a California state assemblyman from 2004 to 2010.

America’s Foreign Policy Must Be Sustainable In Public Opinion, Too

The Federalist, August 4, 2014

As 2016 looms, the cadres of experts who would staff a Republican administration continue to wrestle with the lessons of recent history for our current foreign policy challenges. Dozens of articles labor to set the record straight, criticize the president, and offer advice for securing American national interests. This process is needed and important: achieving consensus about what foreign policies best protect liberty at home is no less crucial than settling on tax and regulatory reforms to promote prosperity within our borders...

For the entire article, see The Federalist

The Texas model works for jobs and business

By Chuck DeVore

(This letter to the editor appeared on September 27, 2013 in the Washington Post.)

Regarding Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Sept. 18 op-ed, “The secret of our success”:

Attacks on Texas aren’t really about Gov. Rick Perry’s job-hunting expeditions. Rather, such attacks are, as Mr. O’Malley suggested, proxies for the national debate on the efficacy of lean government vs. large government. So, given the stakes for Americans, is Maryland or Texas a better model to follow?

First, let’s be frank: Maryland is a federal colony. Its economy rises or falls with the federal behemoth in Washington. As a result, its example is utterly unrepeatable across the United States. From January 2007 to August 2013, Maryland lost 22,900 private-sector jobs but gained 33,500 government jobs, the vast majority being highly paid federal workers, for a net of 10,600 jobs. By comparison, Texas added 958,700 jobs, or 90 times more than Maryland.

The Maryland governor’s shopworn bromides about Texas included this whopper: “Texas ranks 49th in high school graduation.” False. The Education Departmentreports that 86?percent of Texas high school students graduate, the nation’s fourth-highest rate, vs. 83?percent in Maryland. The misleading statistic Mr. O’Malley used refers to the number of adults with high school diplomas, which is solely because of the large number of immigrants attracted to Texas’s thriving economy.

Mr. O’Malley also insisted that Texas is poor. But federal reports ignore the cost of living, which is 31?percent higher in Maryland than it is in Texas.

The Texas model, not Maryland’s, is more relevant for America.

Chuck DeVore, Dripping Springs, Tex.

The writer is vice president for policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Texas v. California: The Real Facts Behind The Lone Star State's Miracle

By Chuck DeVore

(This op-ed appeared in on July 3, 2013.)

Politicians and economists alike are invested in promoting or debunking the “Texas Miracle”—the contention that Texas is better off economically due to policies that favor lower taxes and less regulation.

New economic data provides more grist for this discussion.

If Texas is doing well and does offer a model to the nation, then one set of policy choices ought to be followed. Or, if Texas isn’t doing all that well or does not offer a useful model to follow, then Texas can be ignored in the larger, national discussion of what policies work best for general prosperity.

There are two arguments frequently deployed against Texas: Texas’ economic growth is driven by population increases due to the attractiveness to business of cheap labor and a warm climate; and energy production plays the main role in Texas’ economy.

Texas’s relative success is best measured against a peer: California.

California and Texas are the most populous states. They both have diverse populations, large numbers of immigrants, abundant energy and natural resources, long coastlines and a border with Mexico.

Most importantly, California and Texas, alike in many ways, have diametrically opposed public policies. California’s state and local tax burden ranks as America’s 4th-highest compared to Texas at 45th.  California taxes a 42 percent larger share of state income than does Texas, California’s restrictive energy policies discourage oil extraction, even though it has the largest proven shale oil reserves in the nation; while its industrial electrical rates are 88 percent higher than in Texas.

These policy differences contribute to a divergence in economic performance.

In June, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released new data on state real per capita gross domestic product for 2012. Performance for 2009-2011 was also revised, with California seeing a downward revision of 2.6 percent and while Texas’ performance was revised upward by 0.5 percent. The new figures show that in 2011 Texas surpassed California in real per capita gross domestic product while a separate report showed Texas expanding its lead in real per capita personal income.

What’s remarkable about this data showing Texas’ prosperity relative to California is how counter it runs to prevailing notions that California, with Silicon Valley and Hollywood, is a land of wealth and opportunity while Texas, part of the South, is mired in low wage poverty. In fact, Silicon Valley, as important as it is to California, only amounts to 10.4 percent of the Golden State’s economy while employing 6 percent of Californians. The mining industry in Texas, of which oil and gas extraction are the main part, generated 9.8 percent of Texas’ GDP in 2012 significantly less than manufacturing’s share of 14.5 percent—the Lone Star State’s economy is more diversified than its critics contend.

As for population and job growth, from 2000 to 2012, California grew 11.9 percent. Texas more than doubled California’s growth at 24.4 percent. The U.S. population expanded 11.3 percent in that time. Much of Texas’ growth came from domestic migration, while California lost residents to other states, Texas being the most common destination; this alone should cause pause to those who say that migration to Texas is driven by the weather. From January 2000 to April 2013, nonfarm payroll grew an anemic 2.6 percent in California compared to Texas’ 19.7 percent. U.S. job growth over that time was 3.6 percent.

If, as the critics opine, Texas is adding jobs simply because it is adding people, then the ratio of jobs added to population increased ought to be roughly the same there as in the U.S. as a whole. The data shows the opposite. Texas added one new job for every three people from 2000 to 2013, while the nation added one job for every seven people, meaning that Texas outperformed the U.S. job creation rate by more than two-to-one. In the same period, California added one job for every 11 new residents.

No amount of taxes will allow one worker to support 11 people indefinitely, no matter how robust the welfare state.

Taking into account official measures of regional price parity, Texas’ real personal income was about 4.6% higher than California’s in 2011. But this data reflects Texas’ far lower unemployment rate.

California’s wages, for those who had jobs, were higher. But wages are used to buy goods and services. Once California’s higher costs for housing, food, transportation and health care are considered, Texas workers end up with the advantage: $47,413 in cost of living adjusted average wages compared to California’s $41,680—before taxes.

The policy differences between the two biggest states result in vastly different outcomes for the most vulnerable of residents. The U.S. Census Bureau recently published a new, more comprehensive measure of state-by-state poverty that took into account cost of living as well as the value of government assistance. This survey showed that California had America’s highest poverty rate, 23.5 percent, with proportionately 42 percent more people living in poverty there than in Texas.

Call it what you will, the “Texas Miracle” or the “Texas Model.” The results speak for themselves and show that liberty fosters prosperity.

The Hon. Chuck DeVore represented 500,000 people in the California legislature from 2004 to 2010 and is vice president of policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation where he authored the book, “The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America.”

Twilight of the Rising Sun -- a new novel from Chuck DeVore

Chuck DeVore's new novel, "Twilight of the Rising Sun," is a techno-thriller about the coming clash between China and Japan over the vast oil and gas riches thought to be in the shallow waters near the the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea (known by the Chinese as the Diaoyu Islands). 

The novel is serialized, with new installments expected after Kindle sales hit a certain threshold. When complete, the entire book will be available via Kindle and in paperback from

Chuck DeVore on Fox News
Chuck DeVore appeared on Fox News in May 2013 to discuss how California's overall level of taxation is so high that, if the Golden State eliminated its income tax, with the the highest tax bracket in the nation, they would still have higher taxes than does Texas. 
Chuck DeVore's most recent book has been published. In it the Texas transplant from California expounds upon his insights about why his adopted home is booming while other big states are floundering under the weight of burdensome regulation and taxation.

"The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America" is available on as both a hard copy and downloadable version for Kindle.

Chuck appeared with John Stossel on Fox News to discuss Texas vs. California and his book, "The Texas Model."
A proud new Texan by way of California's high taxes and burdensome regulations. (Texas' veterans' plate is the same cost as a regular plate; in California, veterans' plates cost $30 per year.)
Chuck DeVore is a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel
The DeVore Family