Rich States, Poor States

ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council has just released the 3rd edition of “Rich States, Poor States” co-authored by Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Jonathan Williams which “explain[s] why the economic crisis has been so rough on the states, what states should do to alleviate the fiscal pain, and what they should avoid.”

The book brings up an interesting idea best explained in this remark by Justice Louis Brandeis in the book’s Executive Summary that the “states are laboratories of democracy. The competitiveness rankings give you the chance to evaluate those laboratories for yourself.” By comparing the different methods the 50 sovereign states of America follow in dealing with economic problems conclusions can be drawn as to which methods are successful and which methods of solutions to economic problems should be avoided.

Rich States, Poor States

Rich States, Poor States

It is alarming to learn that due to local debt, Texas is on par with New York when it comes to state debt.

The total of local debt in the state of Texas is $300 Billion. Although the local ISD’s and city councils may be able to blame Austin for passing on spending at the state level down to the local level, that doesn’t excuse the local debt entirely.

The ALEC – Laffer State Economic Outlook Ranking is determined by these 15 policy variables:

•    Highest Marginal Personal Income Tax Rate

•    Highest Marginal Corporate Income Tax Rate

•    Personal Income Tax Progressivity

•    Property Tax Burden

•    Sales Tax Burden

•    Tax Burden From All Remaining Taxes

•    Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax (Yes or No)

•    Recently Legislated Tax Policy Changes

•    Debt Service as a Share of Tax Revenue

•    Public Employees Per 1,000 Residents

•    Quality of State Legal System

•    State Minimum Wage

•    Workers’ Compensation Costs

•    Right-to-Work State (Yes or No)

•    Tax or Expenditure Limits

The book is available for sale but also in pdf form. This would be a great source to learn about success stories and strategies and then demand those same strategies be put in practice here in Texas.

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