ON-Lion Letter

Utah again earns the top spot for states with the best economic outlook, followed by North Dakota, Indiana, North Carolina, and Arizona, according to the newest edition of Rich States, Poor States:  ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, released in April by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Arlington, Va.  New York ranked last.

Rich States, Poor States also reveals that many states significantly improved or fell in the rankings.  Kentucky was the biggest winner in the rankings this year and improved by nine spots.  Illinois came in second for largest improvements by climbing eight spots, while Oklahoma improved by five spots and Wisconsin by four spots.  On the other hand, Michigan was the biggest loser this year and fell in the rankings by 12 spots.  Delaware fell 11 spots, Pennsylvania fell eight spots, and South Dakota fell seven spots.

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 big story this year is the bipartisan embrace of state tax cuts,” according to Jonathan Williams -- vice president of ALEC's Task Force on Tax and Fiscal Policy, director of its Center for State Fiscal Reform, and co-author of the report.  "States are increasingly realizing the need to become more competitive through fiscal responsibility and free market economic reforms.  We anticipate 2015 will be a record year for pro-growth tax reform."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports ALEC's Center for State Fiscal Reform.

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