FASTEST GROWING STATES
1. North Dakota, 7.1 percent growth in 2010
2. New York, 5.1 percent growth
3. Indiana, 4.6 percent growth
4. Massachusetts, 4.2 percent
5. West Virginia, 5 percent growth
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
NASHVILLE — Tennessee ranked No. 6 among states last year in terms of inflation-adjusted growth in goods and services produced, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
But the 3.5 percent growth for Tennessee appears to be creating a growth industry all its own in the Volunteer State as Republicans and Democrats tried to nab credit.
“This ranking highlights what many of us already know: Tennessee is open for business,” Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell, of Nashville, said in a news release issued by the House GOP Caucus. “We have a dynamic, pro-business environment that is attracting the attention of more and more top companies with each passing day.”
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said the figures “reveal the fact our state is making a move to the top in economic growth and the success of the 2011 legislative session will go a long way towards ensuring we get there.”
But House Democratic Majority Leader Mike Turner, of Nashville, said Republicans only took firm control of the House earlier this year. He credited the growth numbers to policies of legislative Democrats and former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, who left office in early January.
“They haven’t been there long enough to damage the economy or help the economy,” Turner said of Republicans. “This was a result of the pro-business jobs creation under the Democrats and the Bredesen administration.”
He said sarcastically that he is “glad Republicans are trying to take credit for something they didn’t do. I really don’t know what they did to create jobs.”
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney later criticized Turner, saying while GOP leadership ispraising state economic growth number, Turner “seems more interested in throwing a wet blanket on great news.”
Devaney said that “even when it comes to great news like this, Democrats continue to act just like the cicadas that have recently plagued our state.
“They make a lot of noise, but the good news is that they’re not going to stick around for too long with the job-killing programs they advocate,” he said.
The government figures for the Southest show Tennessee ranked second in growth only to West Virginia, which had 5 percent growth.
Closer to home, Alabama’s growth was pegged at 2 percent while Georgia’s was at 1.4 percent.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...