Laffer-ALEC Report on Economic Freedom: Grading America’s 50 Governors
by Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, Donna Arduin, Stephen Moore & Jonathan Williams, ALEC, Oct 20, 2020
This is the American Legislative Exchange Council’s first ever Governors ranking, the 2020 Laffer-ALEC Report on Economic Freedom. The scorecard ranks America’s 50 governors based on policy performance and result, as well as executive leadership before and after the start of the COVID-19 health crisis.
“State executives implement policy and respond to crisis in dramatically different ways. At such a critical decision point, voters need fact-based, nonpartisan data to judge their leaders and hold them accountable. The objective data voters need is all about economics, and it’s all found in this ranking.” -- Dr. Arthur B. Laffer
Each governor is awarded an overall rank, a results rank and a policy rank, which is expanded to list the exact criteria used so readers can clearly identify how their state leader stacks up and why. Governors and taxpayers can also use the criteria to determine state policy areas that need improvement, such as tax and spending policy, handling of federal funds from the CARES Act and economic competitiveness data. The 20 variables used to rank the governors equip readers, voters and taxpayers with an objective analysis so they can make an informed opinion.
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Ige Ranks 45th
ABOUT GOVERNOR DAVID IGE (See pgs 148-149)
Despite sunny beaches and gorgeous weather, Hawaii’s economy is suffering.
High taxes and onerous regulations make it difficult for businesses to operate in Hawaii, and barriers to development contribute to the rising cost of living.
After Governor Ige assumed the responsibilities of governor in 2014, Hawaii’s economic situation has gone from bad to worse. Originally ranked 36th in 2014, Hawaii now ranks 44th in economic outlook according to Rich States, Poor States economic competitiveness rankings.
Hawaii’s poor performance is partly due to its status as one of the most indebted states in the country. Including unfunded pension obligations, Hawaii’s debt to GDP ratio nears 30%. Hawaii’s debt to GDP ratio is second-highest only to New Jersey.
If Gov. Ige wants to improve the fiscal position of his state, he should look to reforming pensions and practice greater discipline over borrowing decisions. Barring financial reforms to improve Hawaii’s debt position, improving Hawaii’s business climate will help grow the economy and increase the state’s tax base. Growing the economy through pro-growth policy reforms is another method Hawaii can use to bring its debt under control.
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