There are many ideal places around the country to raise a family, get a job and have a great recreational lifestyle. Then there are the states mired in problems that don’t get high marks for quality of life in America’s Top States for Business. We look at several factors—including crime rate, local attractions, health care and the environment—for the ranking. These 10 states rank last. If you call one of them home, you may disagree. But by the objective measures we consider in our Quality of Life category, these states have plenty of room for improvement. (Source)
Of course, just because these are the worst states to live in, doesn’t mean they’re the worst states to do business in. If you’re a wealthy industrialist, you can put your chemical factory somewhere along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, pay as little as you can get away with, pollute the shit out of the local environment, and then tell people they should be glad to have the jobs. Meanwhile, you can live thousands of miles away in New York or California where you can enjoy a cleaner environment, while hiding your money offshore to get out of paying your fair share of taxes.
So what do all of the ten worst states have in common? They’re all moderately to heavily conservative, with 7 out of 10 having conservative Republican governors. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at them, state by state.
10. Arkansas: Arkansas got a good rating for air quality but a poor rating for crime and health. The state is Democrat-leaning with a Democrat, Mike Beebe, in the governor’s mansion, but the Democrats in Arkansas tend to lean further to the right than most others in the nation. Like many of their counterparts here in Louisiana (especially the northern part of Louisiana), it’s safe to say they’re often indistinguishable from moderately conservative Republicans.
9. Kentucky: Same thing as Arkansas and legislators on both sides are in the pocket of the coal industry. Kentucky also got a poor rating for health, as well as air quality, thanks in part to #8.
8. Ohio: Ohio has been a swing state for the past few elections and currently has a Republican, union-busting governor, John Kasich. Again, the coal industry is strong as evidenced in their poor ratings for health and air quality.
7. Indiana: Think Ohio, with less coal and more boredom, if that’s possible. Oh yeah, and they also have a Republican governor, Mike Pence.
6. Michigan: Rick Snyder, emergency management taking over cities, poor air quality and high crime. Despite bordering Canada, Michigan has some of the characteristics of poverty-stricken states to the south, like Mississippi.
5. Alabama: Poor health, crime and their governor, Robert Bentley. Unlike states like Ohio, Alabama is firmly in the Bible Belt and completely under conservative Republican control. In fact, the Chief Justice of the Alabama, Judge Roy Moore, thinks that the 1st Amendment really only applies to Christians and perhaps Jews. But hey, if you’re rich, there’s the Robert Trent Jones golf trail, so there’s that, I guess?
4. Louisiana: We could just say Bobby Jindal and David Vitter and just leave it at that. Like Alabama, Louisiana is solidly Republican and the few Democrats here, including Mary Landrieu, are barely distinguishable from the GOP. The roads suck, the pollution sucks, and we’re the prison capital of the world. New Orleans is fun to visit, the food is good and Lafayette is cool for Cajun culture, but that’s really about it.
3. Missouri: I went to Springfield, Missouri once, and left as quickly as I could. Missouri currently has a moderate Democrat in Jay Nixon as governor, which may be the only thing that doesn’t suck. Crime, pollution, a conservative state legislature and Springfield is considered to be the “buckle” of the Bible Belt. Yeah, think I’ll pass.
2. Oklahoma: I hear Oklahoma has a couple of decent college football teams and that’s about it. They also have an extremely conservative governor in Mary Fallin and the state legislature is equally conservative. Despite being ranked poorly for healthcare, Oklahoma has rejected Medicaid expansion like many other conservative states.
1. Tennessee: Crime, Governor Bill Haslam, and 11 active chapters of the KKK, what’s there to love about Tennessee? Well, Memphis is known for the blues and BBQ and that’s about it. While Tennessee has launched a get healthy initiative, the fact that Governor Haslam and the conservative legislature have refused Medicaid expansion shows that they’re not really that concerned about the issue.
It’s obvious that this list isn’t perfect and was based off a small set of factors. The fact that Mississippi was not in the top ten for whatever reason proves that. However, it does show that the poorest and unhealthiest states tend to have one thing in common: conservative government.
Want to change that? Then vote in November or you have no right to complain.
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