Kansas outpacing surrounding states for brighter economic future


CLEAR SKIES: While Kansas faced a significant population decline from 2002 to 2012, economic analysts are projecting a rosy future in the Sunflower State due to recent economic and governmental reforms.

By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — Kansas has a better future than any other surrounding state, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The seventh-annual ALEC study, “Rich States, Poor States,” pegged Kansas at 15th in its economic outlook rankings. That’s far better than Nebraska (35th), Missouri (24th), Colorado (22nd) or Oklahoma (21st).

“The ‘Rich States, Poor States’ report is all about competitiveness between the 50 states,” said Jonathan Williams, who co-authored the study alongside Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore. “It shows us who the big winners are there.”

Williams told Kansas Watchdog the Sunflower State is among those to see the biggest economic gains since the study began in 2008. In the last seven years, Kansas has climbed 14 spots to achieve its current 15th place ranking.

“The survey is significant in that it really shows the states that value competition, that value economic freedom and low taxes,” Williams said. “It also connects the dots for people, this isn’t just conservative economic theory. This is real world practice of states getting it right and reaping the economic rewards.”

A retrospective look, however, reveals that the past decade or so hasn’t exactly been perfect on the plains. An examination of a variety of factors pegged Kansas at 32nd overall for economic performance from 2002 through 2012.

What was the biggest knock against the Sunflower State? In a word: population.

It’s no secret Kansas saw a significant population decline in the aforementioned time period under the watchful eyes of Democratic governors Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson; It was a major factor behind the state’s poor economic performance ranking in past years.

Contact Travis Perry at travis@kansaswatchdog.org, or follow him on Twitter at @muckraker62. Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!