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Thursday, April 19, 2018

30th? I'll take it

The American Legislative Exchange Council Center for State Fiscal Reform released its annual 2018 "Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index."

West Virginia ranked 30th.

I'll take it.

How's that go? We are first on every list of bad things, and last on every list of good things. Not this time.

Looking inside the ranking and seeing why we did well, I feel a lot better about the Republican Legislature.

The state ranks first -- yes first -- in two categories. One, for being a Right-to-Work State. The other for not having an inheritance tax.

Oh it is tied with other states in each of those categories. But at least we are not trailing them.

And at 64, the absence of an inheritance tax suddenly has meaning.

We rank fourth in workers compensation costs, and fourth in state government debt burden.

But that debt burden needs a huge asterisk. Our pension debt is humongous. That is a real debt facing taxpayers. Pension debt was one of the things that forced the Chilton family to sell the Gazette.

(Don't worry. My pension check arrives every month thanks to something called PBGC.)

Back to the state's scorecard.

The bad still outweighs the good.

Our state income tax is not very progressive. (40th. The top marginal rate kicks in at $60,000.)

While our property taxes are low (15th) as is our sales tax (14th), the rest of our taxes are high (46th).

5.7% of our population (571 per 10,000 people) work for the government (39th).

Our judiciary still scares employers (45th).

And our minimum wage ($8.75 an hour) is too high (32nd).

The bottom line is we still have too much government, and too little left over after paying taxes. Oh, and we still need tort reform.

Still, 30th? I'll take it.


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  1. Yeah, Big D, they gotta do something about the state income tax. We’re living on 80k a year of IRA and pay the state almost 6k. That ain’t right.

  2. Your West Virginia is in the Top 15 of the Most Physically Beautiful States of the USA.

    (Sorry. I love my desert southwest too much for you to crack the Top 10.)

    1. It takes a while to learn to love and appreciate the southwestern desert. I had about 8 years in NM and AZ.

  3. Good for West Virginia. I like this ranking. Mississippi is 24!!