2014 Rich States, Poor States Report Ranks States on Economic Performance and Outlook

April 15, 2014

The American Legislative Exchange Council today released their 7th annual Rich States, Poor States report, which ranks states in two metrics: historical performance based on economic indicators, and forecasted outlook based on policy variables. Here’s the top and bottom 10 breakdown this year:

Economic Outlook Ranking, 2014   Economic Performance Ranking, 2002-2012
1. Utah 41. Rhode Island   1. Texas 41. Massachusetts
2. South Dakota 42. Oregon   2. Utah 42. Maine
3. Indiana 43. Montana   3. Wyoming 43. California
4. North Dakota 44. Connecticut   4. North Dakota 44. Wisconsin
5. Idaho 45. New Jersey   5. Montana 45. Connecticut
6. North Carolina 46. Minnesota   6. Washington 46. Illinois
7. Arizona 47. California   7. Nevada 47. Rhode Island
8. Nevada 48. Illinois   8. Arizona 48. New Jersey
9. Georgia 49. Vermont   9. Oklahoma 49. Ohio
10. Wyoming 50. New York   10. Idaho 50. Michigan

It turns out that these policies matter. A quick look shows that Utah, North Dakota, Arizona, and Idaho appear in the top ten for performance and outlook, while Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, and Illinois appear in the bottom ten for both performance and policy.

The rankings are a valuable tool for understanding the impact of a variety of fiscal policies. The economic outlook ranking is determined in part by the quality of state tax systems (9 out of 15 variables), but also includes variables for debt service as a share of tax revenue, public employees per 10,000 residents, a variable for the quality of a state’s legal systems, and other fiscal measures.

North Carolina moved from 22nd to 6th in the outlook ranking, due in large part to beneficial tax reforms signed into law in 2013, and Indiana moved from 14th to 3rd, due in part to repeal of the state’s inheritance tax in 2013 and cuts to the corporate income tax rate that have been phasing in for the past few years.

The full report is here.

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