News Columns & Blogs

Is Kansas a rich state or poor state, and why?

Gov. Sam Brownback wrote the foreword for the new report "Rich States, Poor States" and participated in a press conference last week in Topeka with the free-market advocacy group that produced it, the American Legislative Exchange Council. The report ranked Kansas in the middle of the pack for economic competitiveness. Brownback wrote that the evidence is clear that "states should pursue policies that leave more money in our citizens' pockets to help fuel and drive our economy." But Bernie Koch of Wichita, the executive director of the Kansas Economic Progress Council, contends that the report is too narrow in its evaluation of economic outlook, focusing mostly on taxes and regulations. "Other factors not evaluated in the study have been shown by respected empirical studies to be as important, if not more important, including investment in infrastructure and equipment, labor efficiency, education and innovation," Koch said in a statement.