In a wide-ranging teleconference today, ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, held a pre-release nationwide discussion of its latest edition of “Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index” to be released Wednesday, June 22.
Participants included: Legislative staff and think tank executives from across the country, Indiana Senator Jim Buck (ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Chairman), Hawaii Senator Sam Slom (also representing the SBH Foundation and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii), and the three co-authors of this year’s comprehensive economic report, Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore, Senior Economics Writer, The Wall Street Journal, and Jonathan Williams, ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Director.
ALEC, the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual membership association of state legislators, will release its fourth edition of its state-by-state economic rankings Wednesday. The report highlights the 15 economic factors contributing to poor state economic performance and provides a free market roadmap for state legislators looking to bring about real economic recovery in their states.
And the winner is…This year’s report identifies Utah as the strongest economic state in the Nation—the fourth year in a row. Numbers 2 through 5 included: South Dakota, Virginia, Wyoming and Idaho.
The 5 worst states (#46-#50) include: Hawaii (46), California, Maine, Vermont and New York. Hawaii was downgraded from the 3rd edition of the book.
Dr. Laffer stressed several thoughts including, “Good economics is not partisan,” and he gave examples of several Democrat leaders (New York’s Governor Cuomo, California’s Jerry Brown) who have proposed meaningful economic changes and cited Michigan as a good state example proposing changes.. Laffer also said, “Government spending is taxation,” and that the best states have the best and fairest tax and regulatory policies.
Underfunded liabilities, such as defined benefit Employee Retirement Systems (which now account for $3 trillion in total state liabilities), union control, increased government employment (which has grown 90% faster than the private sector during the past five years) and increasing debt were among the negatives.
ALEC suggests positive changes states can take to reverse a bad economy.