‘Rich States, Poor States’ ranks Vermont 49th

By Rob Roper

The American Legislative Exchange Council just published its annual analysis of states’ economic outlooks, “Rich States, Poor States,” and, overall, they peg Vermont as 49th, or next to worst. Thank goodness for New York! But this is no surprise since Vermont has ranked 49th overall every year since 2011, except 2013 when we were dead last.

The ranking takes into account 15 subcategories, including top marginal income tax (43), top corporate income tax (39), income tax progressivity (49), property tax burden (49), sales tax burden (7), remaining tax burden (47), estate/inheritance tax (50), recently levied tax changes (32), debt service as share of revenue (3), per capita public employees (47), judiciary (2), minimum wage (46), workers’ compensation costs (37), right to work (50), and number of tax expenditure limits (34).

This is certainly not where we want to be, but I do wonder if there isn’t some anti-Vermont bias baked into these rankings based on the backward looking analysis of economic performance over the preceding year. This calculation takes into account actual state GDP growth, absolute domestic migration, and non-farm payroll employment, and here Vermont came in 38th. So, we were projected to be 49th in 2017, but we outperformed expectations and ended up at 38. Still not good, but certainly not tail-end Charlie. This is a pretty consistent phenomenon in “Rich States” where Vermont is concerned.

As for others, on the opposite page from Vermont, Virginia was projected to perform 11th in 2017, but actually came in 23rd according to the formula — from an expected honorable mention to meh. Montana was projected to be 39 but wound up in the Top 10 at number 9, and Indiana, projected to be 2 came in 30th. The state that actually performed the worst in 2017 was Connecticut (not a shocker), and the state that performed the best was Texas (also not a shocker). But these states were projected to perform 40th  and 14th, respectively.

These numbers come from the same organization, so you can’t really say one set is wrong and one set is right. In fact, bot sets are “right” in that they are based on actual, verifiable statistics that are useful to look at. But if you’re looking for a betting guide to future performance, you’re probably better off using your own judgment.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

8 thoughts on “‘Rich States, Poor States’ ranks Vermont 49th

  1. At one time VT was wonderful and beautiful. Now it is dying from the inside out. VT is heading down a dark and lonely path to no where

  2. NY won’t be last for long. Now that Andrew Mark Cuomo for so many years of not believed in the Laffer Curve, calling it a myth that conservatives use to scare the democrats and progs. He has now personally experienced it with a $2.3 billion revenue shortfall because the rich are fleeing the state.


    Vermont’s always a little late to the game, but you can be sure the reckoning is coming. By that time the damage will have been done

  3. Vermont is totally lost due to the election of liars and cheats, period. Wonderful job making our state nearly the worst in the country……….kudos to the voters who vote for this stuff. They are the true problem.

  4. Folks, be patient. Once the spenders in Montpelier get wind of this, they will go all out to become #50 because they think that will put us over the top when in reality, they will make Vermont dead last. Keep digging guys and gals.

  5. Come-on Liberal DemocRATs, you can make Vermont the worst Fifty out of Fifty states !!

    I know the real Vermonter’s are sick of the nonsense that comes out of Montpelier, but why
    are these legislators still in office ??

    Time to circle the wagons……I’m sick of my taxes being wasted.

  6. Vermont is going to be a Ghost State because no one can afford to live here anymore and the rich won’t even want to pay the high taxes
    Families that have been here since the beginning won’t even be able to stay cause of the cost
    Sad just plain sad what they are doing to the people of Vermont

  7. It’s all part of making everyone equally miserable, the gift of socialism/cronyism. Funny with a high minimum wage we rank as one of the poorest……how could that be?

    They’ve got many fooled, but the struggle people experience is real…..every day, every year. It needn’t be so difficult, we can be our own worst enemy.

  8. It’s not for lack of trying that we’re not 50th…
    The leftards progtards are working overtime
    to become the worst example of a functioning
    legislature for the citizens..

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