CATO Freedom Report: New Hampshire Is The Freest State, New York Is The Least Free

Bethany Blankley (The Center Square).

New Hampshire is the freest state in the U.S. compared to the rest of the country, while New York is the least free, according to the CATO Institute’s latest “Freedom in the 50 States” Report.

The nonprofit think tank’s report provides an in-depth look into personal and economic freedoms on a state-by-state basis. The report ranks the 50 states according how public policies impact individual freedoms, economically, socially, and personally. This includes everything from taxes to debt to occupational licensure to eminent domain law to drug policy and education choice.

“Measuring freedom is important because freedom is valuable to people,” the report states, as “a means to their flourishing … and an end in itself. At the very least, it is valuable to those whose choices are restricted by public policy.”

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“‘Freedom’ is a moral concept,” CATO argues, and its definition is grounded in individual liberties. “Individuals should not be forcibly prevented from ordering their lives, liberties, and property as they see fit, as long as they do not infringe on the rights of others.”

It measures state policies related fiscal, regulatory, and personal categories. This score is based on multiple criteria. New Hampshire ranks as the most liberated state according to these metrics.

The 10 most free states include Florida, Nevada and Tennessee, South Dakota. Indiana, Michigan. Georgia. Arizona.

New York is ranked as the state with the lowest freedom in all categories of the report’s 313 pages. It’s the least free state overall, followed by Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Maryland, Delaware, Vermont, New Mexico and Rhode Island.

Florida comes in first when it comes to fiscal freedom. The state policies relating to taxes, fiscal decentralization, private and government employment were used to assess the states.

The top ten most fiscally free states are Tennessee, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

Hawaii, New York State, New Mexico and Nebraska are among the states with lowest fiscal freedom.

When it comes to regulatory policy, CATO assessed states’ liability system, property rights, health insurance, and labor market policies. This category includes Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Wyoming as well as South Dakota, South Dakota, Georgia. Utah, Wisconsin, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

The analysis notes, “As with fiscal policy, states that rank highest on regulatory policy are mostly conservative, but they tilt toward mid- western more than southern. In general, these are ‘good-government’ states.”

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California, New Jersey New York, Maryland and Oregon are the states that have the lowest freedoms with regard to government regulation.

Nevada has the highest level of personal freedom. This is based on a variety of criteria such as victimless crime, gun ownership, education and tobacco. New Hampshire isn’t far behind, followed by Maine, Vermont, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon and Alaska in the top ten.

New York, Texas, New Jersey (Delaware), Hawaii, Kentucky and Arkansas are the next least personal-free states. Idaho, Idaho, Wyoming, Connecticut, Idaho, Hawaii, Kentucky, Arkansas, Connecticut and Idaho follow.

This article was Syndicated by permission of The Center Square.