Jonathan Williams Presents on Rich States, Poor States Report

Recently, Jonathan Williams, the senior director of the task force on tax and fiscal policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council, gave a presentation to a group of activists hosted by Americans for Prosperity on the recently released complete 7th edition of annual Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. The annual report is authored by Dr. Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Jonathan Williams and examines the economic status of states and the policy positions that help or hinder state economic growth.

Rich States, Poor States uses two sets of rankings. First, the economic outlook rank is based on 15 equally weighted policy variables that the evidence demonstrates are significantly connected to economic growth and is a forward looking measure on the potential economic growth a state is poised to realize. The second measure is a backward looking measure that ranks the states’ economic performance with three key indicators to demonstrate how each state has performed economically in comparison to the rest of the country.

In addition to the rankings, Rich States, Poor States provides chapters on economic policy and explains why and how certain policy choices affect a state’s economic growth (or lack thereof). Jonathan explains many of these points in his presentation and goes into even more depth regarding historical economic trends and the biggest economic issues currently facing the states.

A free PDF copy of Rich States, Poor States can be found at and the full video of the presentation can be seen below.

In Depth: Cronyism

Cronyism in tax policy stifles innovation, hinders competition and introduces a deep temptation for corruption. The 2014 ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform study, The Unseen Costs of Tax Cronyism: Favoritism and Foregone Growth, found that in the most recent year in which states published their respective tax expenditure…

+ Cronyism In Depth