Tennessee Makes Top Ten In Annual Economic Performance Rankings

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The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –

Tennessee ranked 10th in terms of economic performance and 13th in economic outlook in a new report.

The Rich State, Poor States ranking from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) ranked Utah, North Carolina, Arizona, Oklahoma and Idaho atop the list for economic outlook, while New York, New Jersey, California, Vermont and Minnesota were at the bottom of the list.

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The ranking weighed 15 different policy variables.

In the economic performance rankings, Tennessee was eighth in absolute domestic migration, eighth in non-farm payroll and 14th in state gross domestic product.


Tennessee was tied for the top spot in the country with no state income tax, lowest state minimum wage ($7.25, equal to the federal minimum) and being a right-to-work state and not collecting estate and inheritance taxes.

“The Economic Outlook Ranking is a forecast based on a state’s current standing in 15 state policy variables,” the authors said. “Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the legislative process. Generally speaking, states that spend less — especially on income transfer programs — and states that tax less — particularly on productive activities such as working or investing — experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more.”

Tennessee’s lowest rankings came while ranking 50th in recently legislated tax changes and ranking 45th in debt service as a share of tax revenue. The state’s sales tax burden ranked 40th at $29.34 per $1,000. Generally, the state has a 7% tax on retail sales.

Tennessee ranked second-best for having no progressive income tax and for its low property tax burden at $17.34 per $1,000 of assessed value. 

About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.

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