According to the latest edition of an annual study by the American Legislative Exchange Council, Vermont's economic outlook ranks 49th out of the 50 states. As states face their toughest budgetary climates in a generation, the third edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index offers a clear cut roadmap to prosperity.
"We cannot spend, borrow, or tax our way into prosperity," said Senator Kevin Mullin, ALEC's Vermont State Chairman. "State government must learn to live within its means, as we continually look for ways to make our great state more competitive and cultivate a business climate that will produce jobs."
Vermont's anti-growth policies have taken their toll on the state's economic vitality. High income taxes, poor labor policies, soaring workers' compensation costs, and the nation's highest property taxes all contributed to the state's dismal economic outlook. Among bordering states, New Hampshire ranks 30th, Massachusetts ranks 32nd, and New York ranked dead last nationally.
Co-author and renowned economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer summarized the report's findings when he said, "Tax and economic policies are essential to the competitiveness of our states." Rich States, Poor States presents state economic outlook rankings based on public policies that have a proven impact on growth, revealing which states have the best chance of experiencing economic recovery, and which need to re-examine their policies before they can expect to see improvement.
Laffer and his co-authors, Stephen Moore, senior economics writer at The Wall Street Journal, and Jonathan Williams, director of ALEC's Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, analyzed how economic competitiveness drives income, population, and job growth in the states.
"Our research shows that states with responsible spending and competitive tax rates enjoy the best economic outlook," Williams said. "States do not enact changes in a vacuum - every time they increase the cost of doing business in their state, their state brand immediately loses value."
TOP FIVE STATES BOTTOM FIVE STATES
1. Utah 46. California
2. Colorado 47. Illinois
3. Arizona 48. New Jersey
4. South Dakota 49. Vermont
5. Florida 50. New York
To read more about the state-to-state comparisons, and view the full report, download it for free at www.alec.org.