(The Center Square) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz received two out of five stars for economics policies in a new ranking of U.S. governors.
The report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) grades the 50 governors by metrics related to economic freedom.
Walz, who’s running for reelection this year, placed 31st. He’s been in office since 2019.
The “2021 Laffer-ALEC Report on Economic Freedom: Grading America’s 50 Governors” ranked each governor on current economic performance and fiscal and executive policies over their term in office. ALEC is a nonpartisan organization of state legislators focused on limited government, free markets and federalism.
Executive policies include union control, education freedom, and welfare dependency. Economic performance metrics ranged from interstate migration, education quality, Gross State Product growth, and unemployment rate. Fiscal policy included debt, corporate income tax, personal income tax, government spending per capita, and federal unemployment benefits.
Here are the Minnesota governor’s rankings and scores:
Executive policy rank: 37
- Union control: 41.
- Education freedom: 29.
- Welfare dependency: 33.
Economic performance rank: 13
- Interstate migration: 28.
- Education quality: 8.
- GSP growth: 26.
- Unemployment rate: 16.
Fiscal policy rank: 40
- Debt: 14.
- Corporate income tax: 49.
- Personal income tax: 43.
- Spending per capita: 36.
- Federal unemployment benefits: 42.
ALEC’s Chief Economist Jonathan Williams said the metrics differed from the group’s 2020 report, which focused on COVID-19 lockdown policies.
The report names South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – all Republicans – as the top three governors nationwide. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, rounded out the top five.
The others who made the top 10 were Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (6), New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (7), Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (8), Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (9), and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (10).
The bottom 10 were all Democrats: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (41), Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (42), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (43), Hawaii Gov. David Ige (44), New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (45), former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (46), Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (47), California Gov. Gavin Newsom (48), Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee (49), and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (50).
The top 10 governors shared some common traits: Lower taxes, policies encouraging domestic energy production, lower unemployment rates, and tended to be among those who cut off the enhanced federal unemployment benefits sooner rather than later, Williams said.
Here’s how the Midwest states ranked:
- South Dakota: 1.
- Nebraska: 11.
- Missouri: 12.
- Iowa: 13.
- North Dakota: 14
- Indiana: 19.
- Kansas: 27.
- Wisconsin: 30.
- Minnesota: 31.
- Ohio: 32.
- Michigan: 41.
- Illinois: 47.
The report ranked the governors of California, New York, and Illinois among the bottom 10. Those states have experienced population declines in recent years.
“There’s a lot of competition for the bottom,” Williams said. “They are looking to empower government to have a more command and control top-down economic system where it empowers politicians and not the markets, not business owners and individuals and of course, what we’re seeing is revealed preferences, that is what we call it in economics, people are voting with their feet every single year away from states like New York and California and Illinois.”