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National economic policy report ranks Parson among top 15 governors 

A new report ranked Gov. Mike Parson No. 13 among the nation’s governors in terms of economic policy performance.

Released by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Tuesday, the 2020 Laffer-ALEC Report on Economic Freedom ranked governors based on economic policy and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“[Gov. Mike Parson] continued the state’s low spending and generally pro-growth policies,” the report said. “The state’s gradual income tax rate cuts have contributed to increasingly economically competitive outcomes.”

The authors ranked Parson first in estate and inheritance tax levies. The report placed Parson as the 4th-best governor in terms of tax policy, 10th best in welfare spending, and 12th best in spending policy.

The Republican governor came in at No. 11 in policy and No. 17 in economic results. 

Parson ranked lower in other areas, coming in at 31st in personal income tax progressivity, 36th in union policy, and 37th in debt service as a share of tax revenue — his three lowest rankings in the report. 

Of the nine governors appearing on state ballots this November, Parson ranked third. 

The report also placed Missouri as the state with the 9th-lowest unemployment spike during the first half of the year based on data collected from January through July. 

The authors gave Parson four out of five stars overall, praising the state’s competitive tax rates but finding Missouri to be one of the least prepared states for an economic shock like COVID-19. The report noted the substantial withholds Parson enacted for FY 2020 and the cuts to the 2021 budget, amounting to nearly $1 billion. 

The authors warned Missouri still had work to do in order to recover from the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s economy, recommending an increased commitment to working with the legislature on increasing government efficiency. 

State Rep. Justin Hill praised Parson’s ranking and encouraged collaboration between his administration and the legislature.  

“Parson signed income tax cuts into law, and they have helped the hardworking people of Missouri,” Hill said. “Our legislative leaders should combine efforts with Gov. Parson to build a reliable budget coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The report’s authors discussed the importance of the data in a call with reporters last week. 

“State executives implement policy and respond to crisis in dramatically different ways,” said economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, the co-author of the report. “At such a critical decision point, voters need fact-based, nonpartisan data to judge their leaders and hold them accountable. The objective data voters need is all about economics, and it’s all found in this ranking.”

The 2020 report was the first of its kind. The authors said the purpose of the ranking was to provide governors with a measure of their performance and inform voters of their state’s status compared to the rest of the country.