I won't just blame this on Republicans, but it never occurs to states that providing "nice things" might actually lure people and economic development to their states. This really was the California model for a long time. It wasn't just nice weather, it was great public amenities (like practically free higher education) that made it such an attractive state for a long time. Instead of prisons, or tax breaks for politically connected widget manufacturers, or environmentally damaging pipelines which "create" 8 jobs, how about "move to New Mexico! a great education for your kids!"
Nah, too commie.