Meanwhile, the U.S. News and World Report has published its annual “Best States” ranking and there is some relevance to the current controversy of eliminating the state income tax.
Overall, WV is ranked 47th, based on comparisons of more than 70 factors. The state ranked 50th in infrastructure. The study found that 31% of our roads are in bad condition, compared with a national average of 20%. We ranked 48th in economy, 47th in health care (a concern because our population is the third oldest), and 45th in education. We fared better in the rankings for natural environment, coming in at 36th.
Of note, WV ranked 8th for overall affordability of living.
In addition, WalletHub released its annual tax rankings, entitled “States with the Highest and Lowest Tax Rates.” WV has the 17th lowest state and local taxes in the U.S., at a little more than 10% below the national average. With a cost of living adjustment, WV taxes are the 12th lowest and rank significantly lower than our neighboring states.
The U.S. News and World Report found that WV does not currently have the resources to provide our citizens with programs, infrastructure, and other services that are needed and adequate According to the National Vital Statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, we have dropped to 50th in Life Expectancy, with an average of 74.4 years, compared to the national average of 78.7 years.
The challenge facing our state leaders is improving these rankings, enticing people to move here and striking a balance between lowering taxes and balancing the budget.
Read the US News and World Report here.