Rich States, Poor States: Defining Winners and Losers

Rich States, Poor States: Defining Winners and Losers

That the future looks brighter for conservative, low tax states than for "spendthrift," high tax jurisdictions may sound intuitive. But in the context of our social fabric, the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitive Index for 2010, released by the American Legislative Exchange Council, is thought-provoking, especially so as we look through the prism of a chronically distressed economy. In this context, our focus on timeless social policy questions is intensifying. At the state level, this crescendo will reach a climax as state legislators try to divine solutions to daunting, and perhaps insurmountable, budget gaps. State budget crafting in 2010 and for many years to come will make unmistakably clear how lawmakers define themselves. We must look at ourselves in the mirror in evaluating our vision of social services and what role the states should play in providing them. States in distress are facing a Hobson's choice syndrome. We cannot hide from ourselves any more.