Mercatus Center at George Mason University latest edition of “Freedom in the 50 States” released Friday indicates Democratic "blue states" are the least free. The report profiles its updated state rankings based on how each state’s policies promote freedom in the fiscal, regulatory, and personal areas.
Mercatus Center defines the reports saying it "examines state and local government intervention across a wide range of policy categories, from tax burden to court systems, from eminent domain laws to occupational licensing, and from home schooling regulations to drug policy."
The fiscal area includes the tax burden, state government spending and overall debt. The regulatory aspect includes freedom from tort abuse, property rights protection labor market freedom and cable and telecom freedom. Personal freedom is described as gun control, alcohol, marriage, gambling freedoms, as well as civil liberties, education policy, and campaign finance freedom.
It is interesting to note that of the 50 states, New York came in dead last. Not only did they fail miserably in the above categories, but other freedoms including freedom from nanny laws, seat-belt enforcement, local rent control, motorcycle helmet laws, fireworks laws, trans-fat bans, and tobacco restrictions.
The reports said, "New York is by far the least free state in the Union. It is therefore no surprise that New York residents have been heading for the exits: 9 percent of the state's 2000 population, on net, left the state for another state between 2000 and 2011, the highest such figure in the nation. New York has, by a wide margin, the highest taxes in the country: 14.0 percent of income."
New York was followed by California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Maryland. All five of these states voted to re-elect President Obama in 2012.
North Dakota was declared the freest state in the union. The Mercatus analysis said, "The state scores exceptionally well on regulatory and fiscal policy. Moreover, North Dakota scores slightly above average on personal freedom. It is also the state that improved the most over the last decade," and "has very low taxes and government debt."
North Dakota was followed by the freedom-loving states of South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Missouri. Interestingly, aside from New Hampshire, all these states voted for Republican Mitt Romney in the last presidential election.
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