Boosting Economic Competitiveness in the States

Mar 11, 2010
George Mason University Law School Hazel Hall, Room 332 3301 N. Fairfax Drive Arlington, VA 22203

Event Speakers

Eileen Norcross

Senior Research Fellow

Jason Sorens

Senior Affiliated Scholar

William Ruger

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Texas State University - San Marcos

The current outlook for states is dire.  In recent reports, states are expected to face a cumulative budget shortfall of $193 billion for fiscal year 2010.  Federal bailouts, increased taxes, and budget gimmicks are emerging as solutions to fill budget gaps.  It is critical that states employ policies and practices that enhance economic competition.

In 2009, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University released its “Freedom in the 50 States” our first comprehensive ranking of the American states based on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. In addition to ranking the states on their policies, the report draws a correlation between economic and personal freedom and net migration explaining budget and population problems in the states.

The authors of this study, Dr. Jason Sorens and Dr. William Ruger are currently conducting research for the 2nd edition of “Freedom in the 50 States” and will discuss some of the current trends emerging from the recession and how that is affecting state rankings.

During this panel discussion, we will address what states can specifically do to improve their economic competitiveness and enhance freedom.  Specific topics of conversations will be: budget gimmicks to avoid, insights to 2nd “Freedom in the 50 States” findings, and policies that promote a prosperous economy.


Eileen Norcross, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
William Ruger, Ast. Professor of Political Science, Texas State University
Jason Sorens, Ast. Professor of Political Science, University of Buffalo
Jonathan Williams, Director, Tax & Fiscal Policy Task Force, American Legislative Exchange Council

Lunch will be provided.

If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact Kathleen O'Hearn at or at (703) 993-8426.