State Treasurer Dale Folwell is drawing attention to North Carolina’s No. 2 ranking in a new assessment of states’ economic outlook. The Tar Heel State trails only Utah in the ranking from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

“This is tremendous news for North Carolina,” Folwell said in a news release. “I applaud the General Assembly leadership and members who have been instrumental in a decade-long mission to steer the state onto a path of much-needed reform based on disciplined tax and spending policies. At a time when there is widespread economic pessimism and concern, North Carolina residents can take heart that we have created a powerful economic engine with prospects for future sustainability rated second best in the nation. From a financial perspective, ‘NC’ stands for ‘Nothing Compares.’”

The ranking is tied to ALEC’s annual “Rich States, Poor States” report. The same report ranks North Carolina No. 12 for economic performance.

“In 2011 North Carolina was mired in 26th place” in ALEC’s rankings, Folwell’s news release noted. The state’s ranking has improved because it is “controlling spending and lowering taxes,” according to the treasurer’s office.

Folwell credits state lawmakers. “The economic outlook ranking is a forecast for the future based on factors that state lawmakers directly influence through the legislative process,” the treasurer’s office explained. “Those include personal and corporate income taxes, sales and property taxes, debt service as a share of tax revenue, tax expenditure limits, and average workers’ compensation costs.”

“By adhering to the principles of good but limited government, and understanding that the free market must be unshackled from burdensome regulations and overtaxation to achieve maximum strength, the legislature has moved the state forward,” Folwell said. “Having the foresight and discipline to develop and implement a sound strategy to achieve those aims — often in the face of criticism and naysayers — required true courage. We are now enjoying the huge dividends of that resolve.”

The treasurer links legislative efforts to his own priorities.

The “pro-growth tax and fiscal policies now in place dovetail with his efforts to maintain the state’s vital AAA credit rating, which allows governments at every level to be able to borrow at lower interest rates,” according to Folwell’s release. “That allows them to pump more money into public safety, education, transportation, and infrastructure, which, in turn, enables more growth and stability.”

“Business and industry seek certainty when making relocation or expansion decisions, and North Carolina has become a prime destination due to wise past actions and the future outlook,” Folwell said.