Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon April 28, 2014

PA Ranks 33rd in Economic Outlook Competitiveness

Pennsylvania’s economic outlook is looking brighter - but only slightly.

That’s according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which ranked Pennsylvania 33rd in its 2014 competitiveness report.

The report looks at state economic policies and draws conclusions from research about which states will achieve greater prosperity and which will have a mediocre economy.

Jonathan Williams, Director of Tax and Fiscal Policy at ALEC, said they try to highlight states that have policies enacted that really make a difference.

“We created the study to really help citizens and policymakers to have a guide…really a barometer for how the state is faring in competitiveness measures versus states in its region and states all across the country to really help have a guide book ‘hey what are the things that legislators actually can control?’” Williams said.

The report takes 15 variables into account ranging from the state minimum wage to the state’s property tax burden.

Pennsylvania did move up from its position last year -- but only by one spot.

“Sometimes when you see improvements this incremental it’s more of a factor of other states getting worse and Pennsylvania benefiting from that,” Williams said. “In other cases, it may have been policy changes.”

However, he noted that Pennsylvania’s tax cuts are considered the third best in the country.

“Some of the recently legislated tax reductions in the last two years have really helped Pennsylvania’s ranking,” Williams said. “In fact, if I were to point to anything, that would probably be the major driver in the positive movement in Pennsylvania since 2012.”

The commonwealth has improved throughout the last few years - ranking as low as 43 in 2010.

Utah topped the list while New York ranked last this year.

“I think one of the real stories is even if you’re stuck with a mediocre competitiveness score, there is hope and there’s a way to improve your score in a fairly short basis,” Williams said. “Just two years ago Indiana was ranked something like 22nd or 23rd, today it is third best nationally, so policy really does make a difference.”