State economy showdown: Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Mike Pence vs. Chris Christie

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Indiana,New Jersey,Texas,Wisconsin,Chris Christie,Economy,Scott Walker,Rick Perry

A new report that gauges the economic future of all 50 states could weigh on the 2016 Republican primaries by showing that low-tax states such as Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin have a much better outlook than high taxers like New Jersey.

In “Rich States, Poor States,” from the American Legislative Exchange Council, Utah tops the list of states with the best economic forecast, with New York at the bottom, based on 15 financial tests, including taxes, employment and sales.

It put three states run by Republican governors eyeing a 2016 bid high on the list, giving Indiana's Mike Pence, Texas' Rick Perry and Wisconsin's Scott Walker something to crow about -- and economic credibility.

Near the bottom: New Jersey, with its high taxes, and home to another likely candidate, Gov. Chris Christie.

The annual report charts changes in state tax and regulatory policies and calculates how it will impact growth in the future. It is authored by prominent conservative economists Arthur Laffer; Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation; and Jonathan Williams, Director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force at ALEC.

Indiana comes in third, bolstered by corporate tax reductions under Pence. It jumped 10 places up from last year's ranking, the most of any state. It has a top personal income tax rate of 5.02 percent, top corporate rate of 7.5 percent and no estate tax. Indiana was already an economic star under former Gov. Mitch Daniels who was wooed as a 2012 Republican presidential candidate. See ALEC's take on Indiana here.

Texas ranks 13th, sliding one place, but stars as a low-tax haven. It has no personal income tax, a top corporate rate of 2.65 percent and no estate tax. See ALEC's take on Texas here.

Wisconsin ranks 17th, down two places, with a top personal income tax rate of 7.65 percent, a top corporate rate of 7.9 percent and no estate tax. See ALEC's take on Wisconsin here.

New Jersey ranks 45th, down six places, with a top personal income tax rate of 9.97 percent, a top corporate rate of 9 percent and an estate tax. See ALEC's take on New Jersey here.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.