Economic Success in New Mexico & Beyond: Jonathan Williams on The Rio Grande Foundation

Economic progress, or lack of progress, depends upon the decisions made in Santa Fe and other state capitals.

Jonathan Williams, ALEC Chief Economist and Vice President of Policy spoke with Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation about The 16th edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index and how New Mexico is performing when compared to other states.

The founders had this uniquely American idea for 50 laboratories of democracy where states can compete with each other on an equal playing ground. Let’s ensure that states or colonies don’t put up trade barriers so that the best policies can shape the outcome of the country. Allow interstate commerce to bloom. With competition, states can’t get away with egregious policies without suffering consequences such as out-migration, a loss of GDP, a loss of jobs, and a loss of economic health. In Rich States, Poor States, we embrace that concept of competition, and that competition is healthy.

What does competition produce in the private sector? It produces lower prices and higher quality. States, in a way, operate as businesses by asking what your economic environment is like for job creators and individuals versus the other 49 opportunities.

We focus on 15 variables to get our economic outlook score to develop a forward-looking measure of how competitive states are from a free-market policy context. We can argue that some variables are more important than others, but they were chosen because they matter when it comes to economic outcomes and long-term economic growth. And even more importantly, they are things state lawmakers directly control.