Press Release

New Report Ranks Economic Competitiveness in the 50 States

Kaitlyn Buss
Phone: 202-742-8526

New Report Ranks Economic Competitiveness in the 50 States

Washington, D.C. (April 11, 2012) — The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) announced the release of the highly anticipated fifth edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. This report explains how state policymakers can most effectively drive economic growthand improve the standard of living for their citizens.

The award-winning Rich States, Poor States is widely used by state legislators, Democrat and Republican alike. The publication outlines two sets of state rankings. An economic performance ranking is based on the past 10 years of economic data and takes into consideration income, population, and job growth. An economic outlook ranking uses 15 equallyweighted policy variables, including various tax rates, regulatory burdens, and labor policies. This year, Utah ranked first in the nation, while New York ranked dead last.

The authors analyze state policies to determine which policies produce the best results for state economic growth and job creation. Based on the evidence from this report, world-renowned economist and co-author of the report Dr. Arthur B. Laffer says, “Increasing taxes on productive activities, such as working, saving, or investing only discourages economic output and hurts the potential for real economic recovery.”

Laffer and his co-authors, Stephen Moore, senior economics writer at The Wall Street Journal, and Jonathan Williams, director of ALEC’s Center for State Fiscal Reform, outline the policies that make the most significant impact on economic vitality and job creation. Data from the latest U.S. census reveals a clear link between high state taxes, and slower economic growth. The authors show how taxpayers “vote with their feet and dollars,” moving to states with competitive businesses policies.

“State policies are not enacted in a vacuum,” says Williams. “The decisions of state policymakers directly affect efforts to retain and attract both human and investment capital. States cannot spend, borrow, or tax their way into prosperity. Just ask Illinois or New York.”

TOP FIVE STATES                            BOTTOM FIVE STATES

1. Utah                                               46.Hawaii

2. South Dakota                                 47.Maine

3. Virginia                                           48.Illinois

4. Wyoming                                        49.Vermont

5. North Dakota                                  50.New York

Find out where your state ranks in the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index and learn more about the state policies that lead to economic growth in this year’s edition of Rich States, Poor States. The full-text PDF is available for free on ALEC’s website:

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The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation’s largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators, with over 2,000 state legislators across the nation and more than 100 alumni members in Congress. ALEC’s mission is to promote free markets, limited government, and federalism throughout the states.