Jonathan Williams

Executive Vice President, Policy and ALEC Chief Economist



Jonathan Williams is the Chief Economist and Vice President for the Center for State Fiscal Reform at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where he works with state policymakers, congressional leaders and members of the private sector to develop fiscal policy solutions for the states. Williams also co-authors Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer Economic State Competitiveness Index with Reagan economist Dr. Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore. Prior to joining ALEC, Williams served as staff economist at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, authoring numerous tax policy studies.

Williams’s work has appeared in many publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Investor’s Business Daily. He is a contributing columnist to Tax Analysts, the leading provider of tax news and analysis for the global community. He has written for the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition, Williams was a contributing author of In Defense of Capitalism (Northwood University Press).

Williams has testified before numerous legislative bodies and spoken to audiences across America. He is frequent guest on talk radio shows and has appeared on numerous television outlets, including the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Fox Business News and Bloomberg News. Williams was also the recipient of the prestigious Ludwig von Mises Award in Economics.

Williams has visited all 50 states and regularly travels more than 100,000 miles a year. While on the road, he is a connoisseur of local and regional food across the state capitals.

Task Force Memberships

  • Tax and Fiscal Policy - Staff
  • Authored Articles

    + All Articles by Jonathan Williams

    Authored Publications

    • State Bonded Obligations, 2019 image

      State Bonded Obligations, 2019

      States issue a diverse array of bonded obligations, with a range of obligation strength, revenue sources, debt service schedules and other factors. This study collects and analyzes the bonded obligations …

    • Other Post-Employment Benefit Liabilities, 2019 image

      Other Post-Employment Benefit Liabilities, 2019

      The Continuing Need for OPEB Reform

    • State of the States: An Analysis of the 2019 Governors’ Addresses image

      State of the States: An Analysis of the 2019 Governors’ Addresses

      The latest entry of the State of the States publication breaks down each governor’s “state of the state” address and identifies strong and weak policy prescriptions within. The publications also explore each states …

    • State Tax Cut Roundup, 2018 image

      State Tax Cut Roundup, 2018

      The 2018 state legislative sessions ended with 16 states enacting substantial tax relief for their citizens that was sufficient to qualify for State Tax Cut Roundup. Reducing effective tax rates …

    • Rich States, Poor States: 12th Edition image

      Rich States, Poor States: 12th Edition

      The Economic Outlook Ranking is a forecast based on a state’s current standing in 15 state policy variables. Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the …

    • Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2018 image

      Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2018

      Unfunded liabilities in public pension plans continue to loom over state governments nationwide. If net pension assets are determined using more realistic investment return assumptions, pension funding gaps are significantly …

    + All Publications by Jonathan Williams