Arizona Ranks First in Economic Performance, Third in Economic Competitiveness

April 20, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona ranked as the top state for economic performance and third for economic competitiveness according to a nationally-renowned, conservative model legislation nonprofit. Those numbers come from the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) latest report is their 15th annual “Rich States, Poor States” index on state economies.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Vince Leach (R-Tucson), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force chairman, attributed the ranking to conservative policies. Leach serves as vice chairman of both the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee.

“While serving as the Vice Chair of both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, I’ve advocated for fiscally conservative policies focusing on paying off state debt, cutting taxes, and creating an environment competitive for attracting new business and growing a strong workforce, while removing big government red tape that suppresses the economic success and viability of the states,” said Leach.

Arizona’s ranking for economic outlook has varied over the last ten years — 13th in 2021, 10th in 2020, 11th in 2019, 5th in 2018, 8th in 2017, 5th in 2016 and 2015, 7th in 2014, 6th in 2013, and 9th in 2012. The last time Arizona ranked this high was from 2007 to 2010.

ALEC determined their rankings using each state’s current standing in 15 state policy variables. These are the top marginal personal income tax rate, top marginal corporate income tax rate, personal income tax progressivity, property tax burden, sales tax burden, remaining tax burden, estate/inheritance tax levying, recently legislated tax changes, debt service as a share of tax revenue, public employees per 10,000 of population, state liability system survey, state minimum wage, average workers’ compensation costs, right-to-work status, and tax expenditure limits. 

ALEC noted that states with lower expenditures and less taxes generally experienced higher economic growth.

While Arizona climbed upward in the 15 years of the annual ALEC index, the top state didn’t budge. Utah has ranked first in economic competitiveness every year. 

The top ten states on ALEC’s list were as follows, in order: Utah, North Carolina, Arizona, Oklahoma, Idaho, Nevada, Indiana, Florida, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

The middle pack of states, in order of ranking: Texas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arkansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Louisiana, Alaska, Colorado, Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Delaware, Montana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Connecticut, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Washington, and Rhode Island.

The bottom ten states, in order: Oregon, Maryland, Hawaii, Maine, Illinois, Minnesota, Vermont, California, New Jersey, and New York.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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