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Each year since 2008, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has ranked Utah as the No. 1 state for economic outlook in its Rich States, Poor States, ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.
The economic outlook rank is a forward-looking measure based on the state’s performance in 15 state policy variables.
“Utah again being recognized as the number one state for economic outlook is an outstanding tribute to this great state and its hard working residents,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert said. “Economic development is one of my top priorities, and the recognition from ALEC-Laffer demonstrates how the partnerships built between the state of Utah, and Utah businesses have produced positive results.”
Reasons for Utah’s success include a stable and predictable business-friendly environment, a low cost for business, a low corporate tax rate, tax rebate incentives, international business, expanding exports and its focus on STEM education.
One of the attributes specifically mentioned in the ALEC Rich States Poor States report is Utah’s proactive work in solving pension liability problems. Many states have needed to address huge unfunded pension liabilities, and Utah took pension reform head-on by eliminating its old defined benefit pension plan and creating a new system.
As Arthur Laffer and his collaborators noted in the Rich States, Poor States report, “With solid empirical research and the latest data on state economies, the evidence is clear on which state tax and fiscal policies directly lead to more opportunities.”