A new report finds New Jersey has one of the worst economic outlooks of any state in the nation.

According to Jonathan Williams, the vice president and chief economist of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the "Rich States, Poor States" report measures the economic competitiveness of all 50 states, examining such factors as gross domestic product, absolute domestic migration and non-farm payroll employment

He says based on these and other variables, New Jersey is ranked 46 in the country, with only California, Illinois, Vermont and New York getting lower rankings.

“We focus on variables that matter for economic growth and also variables that state legislators can actually influence and change, and New Jersey once again ranks in the bottom five nationally in economic outlook," Williams said.

So why is New Jersey’s rating so crummy?

Williams said one main reason is sky-high taxes.

“Both the income tax on the personal side, and the business income taxes in New Jersey are some of the very highest in America — and of course property taxes are some of the highest in America.”

He said a number of other factors are considered, including average worker compensation costs and judicial impartiality.

“Also overregulation — and you add to that weak economic growth over the last several years, weak job growth, huge out migration, and it really does add all together into a very pessimistic economic outlook.”

Williams also pointed out that New Jersey's tax rates "are now going to be felt even more by New Jersey taxpayers since they’re not allowed to write off those taxes on their federal income tax returns.”

The state with the brightest economic outlook, according to the report, is Utah, followed by Idaho, Indiana and North Dakota.

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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com