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Report: Great Lakes states’ economic performance, outlook falters

(The Center Square) – None of the Great Lakes states are leading the nation in economic performance or outlook, according to a report released Thursday.

The American Legislative Exchange Council released its newest edition of the “Rich States, Poor States” ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index on April 12.

Minnesota placed 48th. Iowa placed 32nd. The other Great Lakes states fared better, but neither made it into the top 10. Michigan ranked 16th while Wisconsin was 17th.

Neighboring Indiana fared the best among Midwestern states in the ALEC report, ranking seventh overall. 

The report has two components.

The State Economic Outlook compares the 50 states by equally weighing 15 policy variables that state lawmakers directly influence: highest marginal personal income tax rate, highest marginal corporate income tax rate, personal income tax progressivity, property tax burden, sales tax burden, remaining tax burden, estate or inheritance tax, tax changes legislated in 2021 and 2022, debt service as a share of tax revenue, public employees per 10,000 residents, quality of state legal system, state minimum wage, workers’ compensation costs, right-to-work state, and tax or expenditure limit.

“Generally speaking, states that spend less — especially on income transfer programs — and states that tax less — particularly on productive activities such as working or investing — experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more,” the report said.

Utah had the best economic outlook, while New York had the worst.

The report also ranked the states’ economic performance from 2011 to 2021 based on cumulative growth in state gross domestic product, net in-migration and growth in non-farm employment. Data for the GDP figure comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Migration data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s December 2020 figures. Non-farm employment growth data is derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Indiana led the Midwestern states in this ranking at 19th overall.

Minnesota placed 27th overall: 23rd in the GDP measure, 31st in the in-migration ranking and 30th in the employment assessment.

Iowa placed 30th overall. It was 22nd for GDP, 30th for migration, and 40th for non-farm employment.

Michigan placed 33rd in the economic performance ranking. It was 27th for state GDP, 46th for migration and 25th for employment.

Wisconsin was 34th. It placed 31st for state GDP, 35th for migration and 34th for non-farm employment.

Florida had the best economic performance, and Louisiana had the worst.

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