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Rich States, Poor States: What Policies Promote Growth & Opportunity & What Impedes Them?

While Washington focuses on federal policies, the 50 states serve as an example to national lawmakers of policies that help and those that hurt. This year’s 11th edition of the Rich States Poor States, the ALEC-Laffer State Competitiveness Index, examines what states have been doing to either grow their populations and economies or to shrink them. Of particular note in 2018 was how states responded to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which brought about both unexpected revenue gains as well as a limit to states’ ability to pass their high-taxes onto federal taxpayers through the state and local tax deduction. In addition to taxes, the report examines states’ business environments, labor policies, and growing pension burdens. As the authors find, people are voting with their feet based on which states offer lower costs, fewer regulations, and greater opportunities.

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