When a government watchdog as knowledgeable as Steven Greenhut, a Bloomberg View contributor, writes that California deserves to knock New York out of last place in rankings of state business climates, it's tempting to agree.
If only he had a stronger case.
True, the two states are virtually neck and neck by many anti-market measures.
To take just two of the more important inputs for manufacturers, in particular, New York ranks just below California in a nationwide index of workers' compensation premiums, and slightly above California on average energy costs.
Both states authorize at least some local imposition of rent regulation - a litmus test of economic wrongheadedness.
New York's minimum wage is currently at the federal level of $7.25, while California's is at $8. However, New York has just legislated a phased-in wage increase to $9 by the end of 2015.
California has high state and local government debts - as high as $1 trillion, as Greenhut notes.
But on a per-capita basis, casting the same broad net over all government-related liabilities, New York gives California a run for its money.
When it comes to politics, Greenhut can be excused for writing that New York Democrats "have more competition." Obviously, he has never met a New York Republican. Besides, thanks to term limits, at least the California Legislature has regular turnover.
In New York, lawmakers are almost never dislodged involuntarily by anything short of death or indictment.
New York's current assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, has held that job for almost 20 years and was first elected to the legislature in 1976, when California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is now 75, was the nation's youngest governor.
State taxes per $1,000 of personal income are slightly lower in New York than in California.
But through various mandates controlled out of Albany, New York shifts much more of its tax burden to the local level. As a result, New York's property taxes are among the highest in the country - while California's, thanks to Proposition 13, are near the bottom.
Even considering the wide array of assessments and fees in California, local levies in the Golden State are a fraction of those in the Empire State.