Gov. Whitmer Near Bottom of Economic Freedom Report

by Scott McClallen


According to a report from a center-right organization The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earned a fifth-to-last ranking among all 50 governors in the United States.

The 2020 Laffer-ALEC report on Economic Freedom ranks all 50 governors by results and policy.

Whitmer ranked 43rd for results, 41st for policy and 46th overall.

“State executives implement policy and respond to crisis in dramatically different ways,” economist Arthur B. Laffer said in a statement. “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 report said Whitmer’s COVID-19 response was “the most draconian” of any governor, and noted the state wasn’t financially prepared for the pandemic, which exacerbated struggles to balance the budget deficit.

“Gov. Whitmer’s propensity to rely on shutdown orders to fight the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in one of the most acute revenue shortfalls of any state and made it much more difficult for the Michigan legislature to close their budget deficit,” the report said.

ALEC explains the top 10 states were managed well before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, a group including Texas, Georgia and South Dakota.

“The Federally supported, state managed and locally executed response to COVID-19 provides a clear look at different styles and approaches to executive leadership,” White House Advisor Stephen Moore said in a statement.

“Government lockdowns and unclear timetables have proven to be harmful to the health and economy of states. It’s no surprise, states where governors mandated strict lockdowns and restricted individual freedom are in far worse shape than states that remained safely open.”

The report also ranks other criteria such as tax policy, spending policy, and more.

“No state budget is managed like the other, but that’s because of the diversity in our states’ needs,” Donna Arduin said in a statement. Arduin is a former budget official and consultant for Michigan, New York, Florida, California, Illinois, and Alaska,

“That is why objective and nonpartisan data is critical to compare state leaders’ performances, built and backed up by empirical criteria. Any person should be able to see how their governor has led across the board without bias or agenda, and this scorecard’s methodology was designed to do just that.”

Nine of the top 10 governors are Republicans, while eight of the bottom 10 are Democrats.

Top 10:

  • 1. Greg Abbott, TX (R)
  • 2. Brian Kemp, GA (R)
  • 3. Kristi Noem, SD (R)
  • 4. Pete Ricketts, NE (R)
  • 5. Gary Herbert, UT (R)
  • 6. Ron DeSantis, FL (R)
  • 7. Bill Lee, TN (R)
  • 8. Eric Holcomb, IN (R)
  • 9. Jared Polis, CO (D)
  • 10. Chris Sununu, NH (R)

Bottom 10:

  • 41. Tom Wolf, PA (D)
  • 42. John Bel Edwards, LA (D)
  • 43. Michelle Lujan Grisham, NM (D)
  • 44. J.B. Pritzker, IL (D)
  • 45. David Ige, HI (D)
  • 46. Gretchen Whitmer, MI (D)
  • 47. Jim Justice, WV (R)
  • 48. Phil Murphy, NJ (D)
  • 49. Mike Dunleavy, AK (R)
  • 50. Gina Raimondo, RI (D)

“President Trump wisely respected the principle of federalism and empowered elected state leaders to make critical decisions and shape their own health and economic responses to the pandemic,” ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams said in a statement.

“Unsurprisingly, the 50 governors took very different approaches to policymaking. Some reduced taxes, regulations and enhanced their economic competitiveness, while others took a very different policy strategy. That’s why it is important to use reports like this one to compare and contrast the widely different results.”

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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and





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