Taxes, pensions blamed for NJ’s terrible economic outlook
A new report on the economic outlook of the states finds New Jersey is near the bottom of the barrel.
Jonathan Williams, vice president of the conservative, business-backed American Legislative Exchange Council Center for State Fiscal Reform, and co-author of the "Rich States, Poor States" report, said “the bad news is New Jersey came in at 48th out of the 50 states, I think this ranking is just another confirmation for many that New Jersey is not a competitive place to do business today.”
He said Jersey’s terrible ranking is due to several factors.
“Taxes are a big reason in our rankings but we also look at things like business regulation, and labor policies, everything that we know matters to economic growth and competitiveness,” said Williams.
He pointed out a total of 15 equally weighted policy variables were considered, but “also we wanted to look at levers of policy that state policymakers can actually control. There are many things that matter for economic growth but we wanted to focus on those things that can be changed over time.”
To improve its economic outlook Williams said New Jersey leaders have to keep “taxes at a reasonable level."
The state's unfunded pension liabilities also "threaten business certainty and predictability."
He called the ranking “worrisome for New Jersey” because the data suggests this is part of a long term trend where companies and individuals are moving to from states with higher taxes to states where tax rates are lower.
He noted last year more than 700,000 Americans moved from one state to another.
So what do the findings suggest?
“Probably, unfortunately lower opportunities for growth, in terms of economic growth overall, wage growth, job growth and even things like population growth,” he said
The report finds the states with the best economic outlook is Utah, followed by North Carolina and North Dakota. The state with the worst economic outlook in the nation is New York, followed by Vermont.