Arkansas economic outlook ranked 12th. among the states

I’m being a student this afternoon, but sometimes press releases just roll in. I appreciate the good ones. This is your typical right-wing cheerleading for low wages, no unions and a generally inadequate government. Considering the national economy, however, one must accept any good news.

Washington, D.C. — According to a new study from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Arkansas’s economic outlook now ranks 12th out of 50 states. The second edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index offers a roadmap for economic recovery based on state policies that have a proven impact on growth.

The study praises Arkansas for low levels of state debt, below average property taxes and good labor policy. On the negative side, above average income taxes and high sales taxes hurt Arkansas’s economic outlook.

Among bordering states, Tennessee ranks 9th, Texas ranks 10th, Oklahoma ranks 15th Louisiana ranks 18th, Mississippi ranks 19th, and Missouri ranks 23rd.

The report shows how federal stimulus dollars may simply encourage out-of-control state spending, which is up 124 percent over the last 10 years, without requiring states to make the tough decisions needed to bring about financial stability. “States were quick to increase spending and add programs during the good times,” said Rep. Mark Martin, a member of ALEC’s Task and Fiscal Policy Task Force. “Now we need to make tough choices to live within our means and prioritize our budget. The best solution to our budget woes is to control state spending and promote policies that foster economic growth and job creation.”

Co-author and renowned economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer summarized the report’s findings when he said, “States cannot tax their way into prosperity.” Rich States, Poor States presents rankings of the 50 states based on the relationship between policies and performance – revealing which states are best positioned to make a recovery, and which are not.

Laffer and his co-authors, Steve Moore, senior economics writer at The Wall Street Journal, and Jonathan Williams, director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force for ALEC, analyze how economic competitiveness drives income, population and job growth in the states. They found that, “states with a high and rising tax burden are more likely to suffer through economic decline, while those with lower and falling tax burdens are more likely to enjoy robust economic growth.”

“The top performing states keep taxes, spending, and regulatory burdens low, while the biggest losers in the book tend to share similar policies of high tax rates, unsustainable spending and regulation,” said co-author, Jonathan Williams. “State governments that believe they can bring about economic recovery by growing government and increasing taxes are sadly mistaken.”

TOP FIVE STATES                               BOTTOM FIVE STATES
1. Utah                                                  46. New Jersey
2. Colorado                                            47. Maine
3. Arizona                                             48. Rhode Island
4. Virginia                                              49. Vermont
5. South Dakota                                     50. New York

To read more about the state-to-state comparisons, see the individual state analysis, and view the full report, download it for free at


About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

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