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The third and final installment in a series that explains how data on private consumption can help state legislators make more informed decisions.

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Consumer expenditures are surprisingly different between the 50 states. For example, a consumer in the District of Columbia - with the highest per-capita consumption in the country - spends 90 percent more per year than does the average consumer in the nation's poorest state, Mississippi. These differences have very important implications for state-level fiscal policy, primarily tax reform.

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Private consumption is responsible for approximately 70 percent of our GDP. Consumer decisions on how much to spend, what to spend money on and when to save can explain a good part of the ups and downs in our economies. Consumption data can also tell prosperous states from poor states. This article, the first of three on consumption in states, introduces the concept and relates it to disposable income.

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New Mexico was one of the early states to join Medicaid Expansion. As enrollment has grown far beyond predictions, when the federal government's 100-percent cost coverage ends the cost to the state will be far higher than initially expected.

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