ON-Lion Letter

Throughout the country, states are looking for ways to energize their economies and become more competitive.  Each state confronts this task with a set of policy decisions unique to their own situation, but not all state policies lead to economic prosperity.

Using years of economic data and empirical evidence from each state, the newest edition of Rich States, Poor States from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Washington, D.C., comprehensively identifies which policies can lead a state to economic prosperity.  It also makes sound, research-based conclusions about which states are poised to achieve greater economic prosperity and those that are stuck on the path to a lackluster economy.

Its 2014 Economic Outlook Rankings are a forward-looking measure of how each state can expect to perform economically based on 15 specific policy variables that have proven, over time, to be the best determinants of economic success.  The top five states are Utah, South Dakota, Indiana, North Dakota, and Idaho.  Wisconsin is ranked No. 17.  The 46th through 50th states are Minnesota, California, Illinois, Vermont, and New York, in that order.

The 15 policy variables include marginal personal and corporate income-tax rates, personal income-tax progressivity, property- and sales-tax burdens, the tax burden from all remaining taxes, and estate or inheritance taxes.

Rich States, Poor States is an annual economic-competitiveness study by economists Arthur Laffer of the Pacific Research Institute's Laffer Center, Stephen Moore of The Heritage Foundation, and Jonathan Williams of ALEC.  Williams directs ALEC's Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force and its Center for State Fiscal Reform.  His work is supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.

The report's foreword is by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

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