Jonathan Williams, vice president and chief economist at American Legislative Exchange Council, explained that by looking at the economic outlook of each state and ranking them in 15 different factors -- including tax regulations, labor policies and economic growth -- ALEC is able to see which state ranks the richest and the poorest.
When ALEC defines the richest versus poorest state, the company looks at which states are saving the most and spending the most within those 15 different factors. Williams explained that nobody was surprised to see that once again, Utah leads the states as the richest.
“Other states have always looked at Utah to say, ‘How can we become more competitive? How do we catch Utah at number one?’ And Utah’s resiliency at staying at number one has been impressive just from an outsider’s perspective," Williams said.
He said that because of Utah’s philosophy of government prudence, the private sector was able to grow. He also says that the government prudence helped address and modernize the mass of unfunded pensions for state and local workers, which helped Utah have more money for education, transportation and healthcare.
“It is really impressive just to see how many states are trying to catch number one," Williams said. "It’s even more impressive that with all of the eyes on Utah -- having this 12 years in a row -- that Utah has been able to stay ahead of other states.”