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Rich states, poor states rankings: where we stand

Updated: Jul 21


The 16th edition of a state economic competitiveness index is giving Idaho and Wyoming high marks. But Washington's position continues to worsen. Montana doesn't do much better.


Rich States, Poor States is authored by Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, economist Stephen Moore and Chief Economist Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council.


The authors use 15 economic policy sections to rank how states are performing when it comes to competitiveness and growth.


Overall, Utah ranked 1st followed by North Carolina, Arizona, Idaho and Oklahoma.


Idaho's ranking for the past three years has continued to improve, from 11th, to 5th and now 4th best.


Wyoming also improved this year, from 10th to 6th.


Montana and Washington, however, rank in the lower half, at 33rd and 34th, respectively.


Here's where the states rank in the different categories.


Idaho

Personal income tax - 34th

Property tax burden - 14th

Minimum wage - 1st (tied)

Number of public employees per 10,000 people - 7th

Debt service as a share of revenue - 4th

Recently-legislated tax changes - 1st

Average worker's compensation cost - 35th

State liability system (tort management) - 9th


Montana

Personal income tax - 36th

Property tax burden - 37th

Minimum wage - 22nd

Number of public employees per 10,000 people - 36th

Debt service as a share of revenue - 10th

Recently-legislated tax changes - 25th

Average worker's compensation cost - 36th

State liability system (tort management) - 7th


Washington

Personal income tax - 1st (tied)

Property tax burden - 18th

Minimum wage - 50th

Number of public employees per 10,000 people - 21st

Debt service as a share of revenue - 42nd

Recently-legislated tax changes - 27th

Average worker's compensation cost - 27th

State liability system (tort management) - 26th


Wyoming

Personal income tax - 1st (tied)

Property tax burden - 36th

Minimum wage - 1st (tied)

Number of public employees per 10,000 people - 50th

Debt service as a share of revenue - 1st

Recently-legislated tax changes - 21st

Average worker's compensation cost - 44th

State liability system (tort management) - 4th


The research shows both Idaho and Montana need to work on lowering personal income tax rates and the cost of worker's comp. Wyoming, too, suffers from a high worker's comp system - the result of a state monopoly.


Washington state's minimum wage puts it at a competitive disadvantage, as does its debt service.

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