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Colorado rises in economic performance, outlook rankings

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(The Center Square) – Colorado’s economic outlook and past performance are rising, according to a report by a free-market policy group.

The 17th edition of “Rich States, Poor States” by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is made up of state legislators, ranks Colorado 17th in economic outlook. The category is a forecast based on 15 state policies. The state improved from 25th last year, but short of the 15th spot it received in 2017 and 2018.

Colorado ranks fifth in the nation in a measurement of three economic performance areas. The state was ranked fifth for its growth in gross domestic product from 2012 to 2022, eighth for its net domestic migration into the state from 2013 to 2022 and seventh for non-farm employment growth.

The performance ranking is a backward-looking measure of three areas highly influenced by state policies, according to the report.

Of the 15 state policies reviewed for the economic outlook rating, Colorado received top-10 rankings for its top marginal corporate income tax rate of 4.55% (ninth) and its tax burden of $11.70 per $1,000 of personal income (fifth). The lack of an estate or inheritance tax and the number of tax expenditure limits (third) also received favorable rankings.

“Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the legislative process,” according to the report. “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.”

Colorado lost points for not being a “right-to-work” state. States without a law prohibiting mandatory payment of union dues as a condition of employment were penalized in the ranking.

Colorado also failed to get more points for its debt service amount of 8.13% as a share of tax revenue (46th) and the state’s minimum wage of $14.42 (43rd) compared to the federal floor of $7.25.

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