The Show-Me State placed in the top 10 among the nation’s 50 states, moving six places from 15 to a ranking of nine, in the newest economic competitiveness index released by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
The association of nearly 2,000 state legislators from across the country, which promotes free markets through model state legislation, released its annual survey “Rich States, Poor States” on Wednesday.
The goal of the study is to explain how states can drive economic growth, create jobs, and improve the standard of living for residents.
Using 15 state policy variables, Missouri ranked 25 in 2009, moving to 23 in 2009, followed by a ranking of 15 in 2010 and nine this year.
“Missouri can’t rest on its laurels and expect to continue to improve,” said Jonathan Williams, director of ALEC’s tax and fiscal policy tax force and one of the authors of the study comparing the states.
Missouri ranked number one in the amount of estate tax levied and 25 in sales tax burden. The state ranked 41 for the debt service as a share of tax revenue and ranked 50 for not being a right-to-work state.
The survey cites Missouri as one of the states that is “seriously considering joining the ranks of the no income tax states.” As Missouri Watchdog has reported, the “Fair Tax” ballot initiatives, designed to eliminate the state income tax in Missouri by increasing the sales tax rates, met the standards for statewide circulation in February.
The survey also cites Missouri voters for approving a measure in November last year to prohibit cities from enacting an income tax. However, Kansas City and St. Louis residents voted to keep the city income tax in April.
How does Missouri compare to its eight bordering states from last year to this year?
- Kansas — 25 to 27
- Nebraska — 34 to 32
- Iowa — 28 to 23
- Illinois — 47 to 44
- Kentucky — 40 both years
- Tennessee — 10 to 8
- Arkansas — 13 both years
- Oklahoma — 14 both years
When comparing to other states in the region, Missouri benefits from “relatively more competitiveness” compared to Illinois, Williams said, adding that on the other side of the state, “Kansas ought to be worried.”