PROGRESS! Survey Shows Louisiana Has Become Less Economically Competitive

Earlier this week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has released a survey showing that Louisiana has become less economically competitive with the rest of the country over the past year. Louisiana is now ranked 28th in competitiveness, compared to 26th for 2015.

Here’s the press release:

Louisiana ranks 28th for economic outlook  in 2016, according to the newest edition of the Rich States, Poor States report issued by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Louisiana slid two spots in the ranking, down from 26th place last year to 28th place this year.

“2015 was another banner year for tax cuts in many statehouses around the country,” said Jonathan Williams, co-author of the report and vice president of the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform. “As states compete with each other for much-needed human and financial capital, there is a clear trend in favor of taxpayer-friendly, market-oriented reforms.”

The report also revealed many states significantly improved or fell in the rankings. Tennessee was the biggest winner in the rankings this year, climbing ten spots to seventh place. Florida gained seven spots in the rankings, while New Hampshire and Oklahoma improved by six spots. On the other hand, Georgia was the biggest loser this year, dropping twelve spots in the rankings to nineteenth place. Alaska fell by eleven spots, while Idaho and Kansas lost nine spots.

The fifteen economic policy variables used by the authors to rank the economic outlook of states have shown over time to be among the most influential drivers of state growth. The top ten and bottom ten states for 2016 are:

Overall Economic Outlook for 2016

Top Ten                            Bottom Ten
1. Utah
2. North Carolina
3. North Dakota
4. Wyoming
5. Arizona
6. Indiana
7. Tennessee
8. Florida
9. Wisconsin
10. Oklahoma
41. Oregon
42. Hawaii
43. Illinois
44. Delaware
45. Minnesota
46. California
47. Connecticut
48. New Jersey
49. Vermont
50. New York

Rich States, Poor States examines the latest movements in state economic growth. The data ranks the 2016 economic outlook of states using fifteen equally weighted policy variables, including various tax rates, regulatory burdens and labor policies. The ninth edition examines trends over the last few decades that have helped or hurt states’ economies.

Used by state lawmakers across America since 2008, Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, is authored by economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer; Stephen Moore, distinguished visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation; and Jonathan Williams, vice president of the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform.

Looking at the report for Louisiana, it’s clear that three things are killing Louisiana’s rankings. The first are the tax increases the Legislature enacted in 2015. Louisiana will score even worse on tax increases next year between the past special session and the upcoming special session. The second is our high sales tax burden, which again will only get worse. Finally, our ambulance chaser friendly legal system doesn’t score well. We also get killed in workers’ comp costs compared to the rest of the country too.

States do not become wealthy by accident. It is the result of specific policies.

Unfortunately, the Louisiana Legislature and John Bel Edwards seem to be doing everything they can to enact the wrong policies.

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