Out-of-control spending has been the theme of 2009. In his first fifty days in office, President Obama and the 111th Congress spent one billion dollars an hour. Using money to bail out the states, 40 of which are running state deficits, simply encourages more spending. In response, Governor Mark Sanford (R-SC) wrote a letter to the South Carolina state legislature explaining his decision to ask President Obama for a waiver allowing him to use federal stimulus money to pay down state debt.

Also in response, and in good timing, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the second edition of Rich States, Poor States, which, “presents rankings of the 50 states based on the relationship between policies and performance, revealing which states are best positioned to make a recovery, and which are not.”

One of the main conclusions drawn from the report:

[S]tates with a high and rising tax burden are more likely to suffer through economic decline, while those with lower and falling tax burdens are more likely to enjoy robust economic growth.”

The full report, well worth reading, can be found for free here. Individual state snapshots here.