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Analysis: Texas Tops Nation for Most Cost-Effective State Legislature

US Map showing paid per production unit of each state's legislature.

Despite being a part-time "citizen legislature," new data crowns Texas as the state that extracts maximum value at minimal costs to taxpayers.

TEXAS, UNITED STATES, May 28, 2024 / -- A new nationwide analysis has found that the Texas Legislature delivers taxpayers more bang for their buck than any other state. The comprehensive study from PlayUSA compared legislative output and costs across all 50 states during the 2023 legislative session.

The results show that despite meeting just once every two years and paying its lawmakers modest salaries, the Texas Legislature was the nation's productivity powerhouse. In the 2023 session, Texas legislators introduced 11,138 bills and passed 3,849 into law—more than any other state.

When legislative compensation costs were measured against this high level of output, Texas secured the #1 ranking for the most cost-effective state legislature. On a "dollars per unit of productivity" metric, Texas spent just $3.58 to generate each unit of legislative work—a remarkable 80 times less than dead-last Alaska.

"The numbers don't lie—Texas taxpayers are getting an incredible return on investment from their part-time citizen legislature," said Walter Yuhl for PlayUSA. While some states pay full-time salaries over $100,000 annually, Texas is proving you don't have to break the bank to operate an efficient and highly productive lawmaking body."

Other key findings from the analysis:
- Texas lawmakers earn a modest $7,200 annual salary plus a per diem of $221 for each day the legislature is in session.
- Several other part-time, low-compensation legislatures, such as New Jersey (#2), Massachusetts (#3), and Tennessee (#5), also ranked among the most productive and cost-effective in the nation.
- In contrast, the Alaska legislature was rated as the worst dollar value, costing taxpayers $287.50 per unit of output despite being one of the highest-paid legislative bodies.
- Higher salaries did not necessarily translate to greater legislative output. For example, the New York legislature is the second highest paid at over $100,000 per year yet ranked #1 for productivity.

The full report, including rankings for all 50 states and details on the methodology, can be found on the PlayUSA blog: Legislative ROI: What States Are Giving Taxpayers Their Money’s Worth?

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About PlayUSA

PlayUSA provides reliable and trustworthy content and resources about the legal and regulated US gambling industry. Based in the United States, is part of the Catena Media portfolio of sites and is an independently owned and operated commercial organization. It is not directly affiliated with any one casino or gaming website.

Kimberly Yuhl
Catena Media

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