LAS VEGAS -- Despite high unemployment and record numbers of home foreclosures Nevada came out relatively well in an economic outlook study released in June by an organization that promotes limited government and free markets.
The American Legislative Exchange Council of Washington, D.C., in a report co-authored by noted fiscally conservative economist Arthur Laffer, gave Nevada an economic outlook ranking of 17th. The top states on the list were Utah, South Dakota, Virginia, Wyoming and Idaho.
"Bloated state spending levels and trillions of dollars in unfunded government employee pension liabilities pose huge financial obstacles to economic recovery in the 50 states today," the report stated. "This begs the million -- or trillion -- dollar question: Why are some states prospering while others are still struggling?"
Nevada ranked as high as it did because it doesn't have personal or corporate income taxes or estate taxes and is a right-to-work state. The organization believes that the path to job creation is through low taxes and less involvement from organized labor. Nevada also ranked first in the nation with only 436.5 public employees per 10,000 residents, something the council applauds because of its limited government philosophy.
The state's property tax burden of $30.48 per $1,000 of income ranked Nevada 25th. Where the state scored poorly with the group was in its sales tax burden of $31.97 per $1,000 of personal income (40th), recently legislated tax changes amounting to an increase of $3.08 per $1,000 of personal income (44th), minimum wage of $8.25 an hour (46th) and remaining tax burden of $36.51 per $1,000 of personal income (50th).
A forecast based on a state’s standing (equally weighted average) in the 15 important state policy variables shown below. Data reflect state + local rates and revenues and any effect of federal deductibility.