Press Release

New 2014 Economic Competitiveness Rankings Show States Are Making Large Reforms

New 2014 Economic Competitiveness Rankings Show
States Are Making Large Reforms

Utah Takes Top Rank for Best Economic Outlook in 2014

Utah, South Dakota and Indiana among top states; Illinois, Vermont and New York rank last.

Arlington, VA (April 15, 2014)—Utah again earns the top spot for states with the best economic outlook in 2014, followed by South Dakota, Indiana, North Dakota and Idaho, according to the newest edition of the Rich States, Poor States report released by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The report also reveals that big reforms significantly helped Indiana, Michigan and North Carolina improve their national rankings this year.

“The big story in our report this year is that fundamental tax and fiscal policy reforms significantly improved the economic competitiveness rankings of North Carolina, Indiana, and Michigan. These states are now better poised to realize real economic growth,” said Jonathan Williams, director of the American Legislative Exchange Council Center for State Fiscal Reform and co-author of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic State Competitiveness Index.

Rich States, Poor States examines the latest trends in state economic growth. The data ranks the 2014 economic outlook of states using 15 equally weighted policy variables, including various tax rates, regulatory burdens and labor policies. The seventh edition examines the trends over the last few decades that have helped or hurt states’ rankings, and states with low tax rates and right-to-work laws are more likely to have a better economic outlook.

The 15 economic policy variables used by the authors to rank the economic outlook of states have shown over time to be among the most influential variables for state growth. The top ten and bottom ten states for 2014 are:


Top 10 (states link to individual state data)
  1. Utah
  2. South Dakota
  3. Indiana
  4. North Dakota
  5. Idaho
  6. North Carolina
  7. Arizona
  8. Nevada
  9. Georgia
  10. Wyoming
Bottom Ten
  1. Rhode Island
  2. Oregon
  3. Montana
  4. Connecticut
  5. New Jersey
  6. Minnesota
  7. California
  8. Illinois
  9. Vermont
  10. New York

Used by state lawmakers across America since 2008, Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, is authored by economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, former Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams.

“The report shows that states are taking responsibility for their own economic success and not waiting for direction from the federal government,” said report co-author and Heritage Foundation Chief Economist Stephen Moore. “The short story is, the states are leading the way in pro-growth, economic reforms.”

Rich States, Poor States clearly outlines the benefits that lower taxes, sound labor policies and spending restraints can have on the economic environments in the states,” said report co-author and economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer. “It is a valuable resource for those who seek to promote economic growth in their own state.”

To download a copy of Rich States, Poor States and to see individual state data, visit


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit: