Rich States, Poor States: 12th Edition

by Jonathan Williams, Stephen Moore & Dr. Arthur B. Laffer


In this 12th edition of Rich States, Poor States, White House Advisors Dr. Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore and ALEC Executive Vice President of Policy and Chief Economist Jonathan Williams review policy choices made by the 50 states and discuss whether those choices have improved economic competitiveness.


In Chapter One, the authors discuss important state policy developments since the last edition of this publication, including takeaways from the 2019 state legislative sessions. Chapter Two charts the decline and fall of Connecticut as one of the top states for economic performance prior to enacting a personal income tax in 1991. In Chapter Three, the authors detail the dire fiscal and economic situation confronting Illinois.


The empirical evidence and analysis in this edition of Rich States, Poor States illustrate which policies encourage greater economic opportunity and which are obstacles to growth. The evidence is clear that competitive tax rates, thoughtful regulations, and responsible spending lead to more opportunities for all Americans. State economies grow and flourish when lawmakers trust people, not government, to create long-term prosperity.