Press Release

Americans Flock to Winning States: New Rich States, Poor States Rankings

Award-winning economists rate Utah #1 for Economic Outlook, while Texas soars to best ranking in 17 years of annual report on state economic competitiveness.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Today, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the 17th edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, the annual report assessing each state’s competitiveness and economic outlook. The report, which has been used by lawmakers across the states since 2007, is co-authored by Reagan Economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, economic policy expert Stephen Moore, and ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams.

“It’s become abundantly clear that the solutions to our financial woes won’t come from the corridors of Washington, DC – they will come from the states,” said ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson. “Our latest edition of Rich States, Poor States demonstrates how states competing for the right to prosper have emerged as beacons to workers and businesses alike. They follow the jobs, the freedoms, and the opportunity to achieve. ALEC proudly highlights this competition and congratulates the winners.”

The authors utilize 15 economic policy variables to rank the economic outlook of every state. These variables have proven over time to be influential for state competitiveness and growth. The report highlights that cutting taxes, paying down debt, and maintaining free market policies have significantly helped states attract new residents.

“While the federal government continues their never-ending descent into a record-setting $35 trillion debt, the only last point of refuge for fiscal sanity rests in our 50 laboratories of democracy – the states,” said ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams. “Americans are voting with their feet and fleeing the high tax, high regulation states like California, New York and Illinois for pro-growth, pro-employment havens like Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, where leaders rely on a set of free market principles and pro-taxpayer reforms that landed those states at the top of our rankings.”

Find out how your state ranks here.

 Top 10 States Bottom 10 States
1. Utah 41. Hawaii
2. Idaho 42. Oregon
3. Arizona 43. Maryland
4. North Carolina 44. Minnesota
5. Indiana 45. Maine
6. Texas 46. New Jersey
7. South Dakota 47. California
8. Wyoming 48. Illinois
9. Oklahoma 49. Vermont
10. North Dakota 50. New York


Utah has maintained its position as the top-ranked state for economic outlook for 17 years in a row. State leaders and legislators have a strong record of implementing pro-taxpayer reforms in recent years, including the adoption of a flat personal income tax rate, pension reform for its previously endangered system, and an innovative approach to property tax reform.

“There’s a reason we’re called the ‘Beehive State,’” said Utah State Senate President J. Stuart Adams. “We continue to emulate our pioneer ancestors’ industrious nature and strategic foresight that transformed our state into the economic powerhouse it is today. This past year marked the fourth consecutive tax cut, allowing Utahns to keep a cumulative $1.3 billion of their hard-earned money, providing them more financial freedom and directing more funds back into Utah businesses. We also successfully balanced our state budget while amply funding education, transportation and more to maintain Utah’s high quality of life.”

Other highlights include Idaho’s rise to the second spot from last year’s 4th place finish – largely attributed to its significant 2022 tax cuts. Texas also demonstrated significant progress, jumping from 13th to 6th place, due to the 2023 tax cuts—the largest in Texas history—and the nation’s 2nd highest level of absolute domestic migration. Conversely, New York’s consistent position at the bottom of the list is a consequence of its persistently high personal, corporate, property, and inheritance taxes, imposing a considerable burden on its taxpayers. The Attorney General’s recent attacks on business suggest more will be fleeing her jurisdiction.

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