Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Keep this under your hats: Wyoming, the Cowboy Equality State, welcomes you

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Wyoming was the fastest-growing state in the country from July 2008 to July 2009 according to U.S. Census estimates.

And more people may be on their way.

Wyoming's estimated population in July 2009 was 544,270, according to the U.S. Census -- a jump of 2.12 percent from the 532,981 estimated to be living in the state at the same time last year. That's the highest growth rate Wyoming has seen since 1982, during the last year of a state energy boom.

This past year's population increase also came at the tail end of another energy boom, said Wenlin Liu, senior economist with the state's Economic Analysis Division.

Most of the state's population growth since July 2008, Liu said, probably came in the second half of 2008, when high energy prices made Wyoming's economy one of the few bright spots in an otherwise slumping national economy.

Wyoming was particularly attractive to job-seekers from hard-hit states such as Michigan, California, Nevada and Florida, he said.

But even though energy prices have fallen drastically in 2009, Wyoming probably won't see a population exodus like it did when the 1980s energy boom crashed, Liu said. That's because unlike 25 years ago, the entire nation is also suffering through tough economic times.

"Even if you want to move out (of Wyoming), there's almost no ideal place to go," Liu said.

This news has alarmed the Wyoming Republican Party. Some of these newcomers are bound to be Democrats or Independents. This could upset the delicate balance which has made Wyoming a one-party Republican stronghold since time immemorial or at least since 1890.

"We are thinking about putting up a fence," said GOP State Chairman Ryde M. Cowboy. "Although many of the new workers are good Republicans, we are convinced that some Democrats and Independents are sneaking across the border. Once they establish residency and register to vote, they might notice that the Wyoming Legislature has all the diversity of the Politburo under Stalin. Their votes may upset Wyoming's delicate balance."

No word yet on whether there is an anti-liberal fence bill slated for the next Wyoming Legislature, which convenes Feb. 8, 2010.

As if this wasn't enough -- there is more alarming news.

The Denver Post reports that the population influx into Colorado has slowed down but still continues.

Colorado's estimated population surpassed 5 million people for the first time as the state grew at the fourth-highest rate in the country amid the worst recession in decades.

U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today showed that the state's population hit 5,024,748 in July of this year, adding almost 90,000 people from last year.

As a result of the growth, Colorado has now grown by 16.8 percent since the 2000 Census, adding more than 700,000 people.

How will Colorado cope with 700,000 more people? This number is more than Wyoming's entire population, even if you throw in some antelope and deer. My guess is that most of those people are not heading to the wide-open spaces of the Eastern Plains, but destined for the Front Range corridor that stretches from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. Fort Collins, of course, is dangerously close to Wyoming. Some emigrants moving to Fort Collins may discover that I-25 continues north into Wyoming. They may get on the interstate and take a trip into the Cowboy Equality State and discover an untrammeled wonderland.

They will find no personal income tax in Wyoming. How can this be, they may ask. They also may find housing prices below those in Colorado, California, Michigan and most other high-population states. They also may find that all Wyomingites are automatically cowboys due to the fact we're The Cowboy State. All those people who dreamed of being cowboys in their youth will have their wishes come true. Here's a little-known fact: each new permanent resident of Wyoming is awarded a horse, a cowboy hat and a new pair of boots without any horseshit on the heels.

Not many people know this, not even those in Colorado. But it's true. We welcome thee. Especially Democrats. We really need those.

But don't tell anybody. Our Republican Overlords are thinking of putting up a fence.

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