December 13, 2012

The Best and Worst Run States . . . Where Missouri Ranks

24/7 Wall St., a financial news and opinion website, recently released its latest version of the best and worst run states in the country. You will be heartened to know that we are not California, which to our surprise (not really) ranked dead last. On the other hand, neither are we North Dakota, which ranked No. 1 in 2012. Missouri ranks 25th overall (down from 20th the previous year).

Here are some key points the study found regarding Missouri:

  • Perfect credit rating from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s (ratings from ratings agencies are not always perfect, see: sub-prime mortgage crisis)
  • Unemployment rate for 2011: 8.6 percent (national unemployment rate: 8.9 percent)
  • State spending has been reduced in areas such as higher education for the past three years (fiscal years 2010-12) and Missouri residents refuse to change course.

This is not the first time the Show-Me Institute has analyzed a study that ranked Missouri in comparison to other states. These rankings depend on the weights the authors assign to the different measures they analyze. It is difficult to judge these rankings one way or another because they are partially subjective.

However, while Missouri might be in the middle of these rankings, on unfiltered measures such as real GDP (the measure of all the final goods and services that are produced within Missouri’s borders) it is among the worst economic performers in the country. In fact, based on more recent measures, Missouri is barely growing and is placed firmly in the bottom quintile of states for growth.

If it hopes to improve, Missouri should consider implementing Education Savings Accounts, eliminating the state’s corporate income tax or even eliminating the state’s income tax, and reforming occupational licensing.

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