Kansas ranks low in economic competitiveness, but is improving

American Legislative Exchange Council has released a report titled Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.

In this report, states are ranked on 15 policy factors that influence economic growth and competitiveness. The difference between the good and bad states is shocking in some cases. For example, over the past ten years the ten highest-ranked states had population growth of 20.4%. The ten lowest-ranked states grew by 4.4%.

In a table titled “ALEC-Laffer State Economic Performance Index: 1997-2007” Kansas ranks 42nd. It’s a historical measure, taking into account what’s happened in the past.

Fortunately for Kansas, things are looking better. Our state’s “Economic Outlook Rank” is 24. That’s an increase from 29 the year before.

Some of the factors that produced this relatively favorable rating include “remaining tax burden,” which seems to be the taxes to pay other than personal income tax, corporate income tax, property tax, and sales tax. Kansas ranks about average or worse than average on these factors, but well compared to other states on the remaining taxes.

Also, “recently legislated tax changes” is a good measure for Kansas. This undoubtedly refers to some of the business taxes that are being phased out in Kansas. Spending lobbies such as the Kansas National Education Association want to eliminate or roll back these tax cuts, however.

A measure where Kansas ranks very poorly is “public employees per 10,000 population.” Kansas ranks 48 among the states in this measure. We’ve known that during the Kathleen Sebelius administration that Kansas job growth has been greatest in the government sector, and here’s evidence of that.

Besides the rankings, the report contains a useful section titled “The 10 Principles of Effective Taxation.”

The report may be viewed by clicking on Rich States, Poor States:ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. A press release announcing the report is at New Report Shows Path to Economic Recovery for States.

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