6:00: Morning News

West Virginia falls on national economic competitiveness list

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia sits at spot #36 in the latest Rich States, Poor States Index from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a report that is designed to be a forward-looking measure of how each state can expect to compete economically.

“We rank states based on 15 criteria that include things like tax rates, tax burdens, regulations and labor policies,” said Jonathan Williams, an ALEC researcher, of the factors considered to be the best determinants of economic success.

Last year, West Virginia was at spot #30.

“It’s not necessarily that West Virginia did anything that bad recently, it’s more or less other states are moving forward and aggressively cutting taxes,” Williams explained. “You could fall behind just by standing still. Last year, 14 states cut taxes significantly. The year before, 17 states cut taxes significantly.”

The data collection window for the Index closed on Jan. 1 — before the start of the 2015 Regular Legislative Session.

“Congratulations to West Virginia for passing some very substantive tort reforms. I think that will certainly be reflected in next year and future year rankings,” Williams said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

This year, the top five states on the Rich States, Poor States Index are Utah, North Dakota, Indiana, North Carolina and Indiana.

“We find that the states that rank the best in Rich States, Poor States generally value economic competitiveness, generally value lower taxes, reasonable regulations, good labor policies,” said Williams.

New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and New York are at the bottom of the list.

As for the Mountain State’s neighbors, Kentucky is #30, Virginia is #12, Pennsylvania is #41, Ohio is #23 and Maryland is #33.

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