The Kansas economy ranks 46th in the nation among all states and the District of Columbia, according to a March report.
State Policy Reports, a Washington, D.C.-based publication that tracks state policies, ranked Kansas near the bottom of the nation in its Index of State Economic Momentum, which rates states base on personal income growth, employment growth and population growth.
Kansas was one spot above neighboring Oklahoma, which was ranked 47th, and a few spots below Nebraska, which was ranked 42nd.
Utah was ranked first, according the report, followed by California.
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The only state bordering Kansas that wasn’t in the bottom half of the rankings was Colorado, which ranked ninth, according to the report. Missouri was ranked 36th.
The report said that states that rely on natural resources have lagged and that agricultural states have “struggled due to declining global prices for agricultural commodities.” That helps explain the low rankings of Kansas and its neighbors.
State Policy Reports noted that Michigan, which ranks 18th, is the only state in the Midwest to surpass the national average.
Gov. Sam Brownback blamed dropping oil and agriculture prices last month for causing the state’s revenue shortfall. Eileen Hawley, Brownback’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that the report “confirms Governor Brownback’s stated concerns about the national and regional economic headwinds Kansas is facing when it comes to what the report describes as Midwestern states ‘lagging’ the rest of the country due to energy and agriculture.
“This is why we support a pro-growth tax policy,” Hawley added.
However, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the report proves the folly of Brownback’s tax policies.
“It refutes everything we’ve been told, the spin that Sam Brownback’s given us, that we have an economic boom here in the state,” Hensley said, recalling that Brownback promised that income tax cuts would be a “shot of adrenaline” into the Kansas economy.
Kansas saw a 1.9 percent improvement in personal income in 2015, 44th in the nation, compared to a national growth rate of 4 percent, according to the report.
Both Kansas and Oklahoma saw a 0.4 percent drop in jobs between February 2015 and February 2016. Only four states fared worse during the same period, which saw the nation grow jobs by a rate of 1.8 percent.
Kansas also saw limited population growth in 2015, according to the report, growing by a rate of 0.31 percent, which was 32nd in the nation and one spot below Missouri.