In stark contrast, a stack of more conservative midsection states from North Dakota south to Texas are thriving with an unemployment rate
of 4.7 percent, according to the latest Labor Department figures. Nationwide, unemployment was at 7.7 percent in February.
Florida's unemployment, at 7.8 percent
, has dipped near the national average for the first time in years under Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Unemployment remained at or about 8 percent throughout most of President Obama’s first term, and has decreased less than a half-point in the first quarter.
California also has the dubious distinction of having some of the highest taxes and fuel prices in the U.S. Gas prices spiked to $4.06 per gallon
there last month.
Meanwhile, in 2010, Rhode Island families making less than $18,000 a year were set to pay 12.1% of their 2010 income in state and local taxes
, according to a study by ITEP, a Washington-based research group that is affiliated with the labor-backed nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice.
Rhode Island was among the bluest of blue states
in the last election. Obama’s total vote in percentages: Vermont (67), Rhode Island (62.9), New York (62.6), Maryland (61.7), and Massachusetts (60.8).