Free-market group ALEC: Utah has the best economic outlook this year


(American Legislative Exchange Council)

The economic outlook for Utah is stronger than for any other state, according to an annual ranking compiled by a free-market legislative group.

The rankings, produced by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, seek to identify which states have the strongest economic climates. Utah tops the list, followed by South Dakota, Indiana, North Dakota and Idaho. The state with the worst outlook is New York, followed by Vermont, Illinois, California and Minnesota.

The annual ALEC-Laffer rankings are part of the group’s Rich States, Poor States report. ALEC has been widely criticized and targeted by liberals for connecting state legislators with corporate interests in policymaking workshops. Conservatives and ALEC members argue that the relationship makes sense: “What better way to create business-friendly policies than communicating closely with business?” they argue.

The rankings were compiled by Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams. Laffer is a conservative economist who gained prominence as an adviser to President Ronald Reagan. Moore is a noted conservative economist who has served on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board and is currently the chief economist of the Heritage Foundation. And Williams is a senior ALEC staffer

The rankings are calculated by averaging how each state ranks along 15 variables, such as tax burdens, top marginal rates and minimum wage levels. (The full list of variables is at the end of the post.) The map below represents the change in rankings between 2013 and 2014.


(American Legislative Exchange Council)

* The complete list of the 15 variables that comprise the economic outlook ranking follows: top marginal personal income tax rate, top marginal corporate income tax rate, personal income tax progressivity, property tax burden, sales tax burden, remaining tax burden, estate/inheritance tax levied, recently legislated tax changes, debt service as a share of tax revenue, public employees per 10,000 residents, state liability system survey, state minimum wage, average workers’ compensation costs, right-to-work state, number of tax expenditure limits.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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