June 8, 2011

Freedom in the 50 States

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New Jersey and New York Ranked as Worst States for "Individual Freedoms"

Freedom in the 50 States was featured in an ABC News article.

The professors who authored the study believe that this freedom as they define it makes a lot of difference to the happiness and well-being of the governed. Many people "don't want to have their lives dictated by people in their state capital," says William Ruger, political science professor at Texas State University-San Marcos, who co-authored the report with Jason Sorens, political science professor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. "As academics, we were first interested in the scientific question of how states differ, why, and with what implications," said Ruger. "It was natural to then compare them in terms of their respect for individual freedom given how important this is to both of us."



NH Ranks on Top of Freest States

 The Eagle Tribune discussed the “Freedom in the 50 States” study with William Ruger defining the idea of freedom and discussing the rankings.

A study by the Mercatus Institute, a libertarian think tank, found New Hampshire is the freest state in the nation. The study, which was released yesterday, determined the Granite State had the least number of government restrictions on economic and personal freedoms, including gun ownership.



Report: Is Montana the Land of the Not-so Free?

The Great Falls Tribune discussed the “Freedom in the 50 States” report, considering Montana’s ranking in the bottom half of the study.

Montana was the home of Ted Kaczynski, the so-called "mountain man" Nichols family, and even an organization called the Freemen, so it might surprise you to find out that Montana ranks in the bottom half of states in terms of economic, social and personal freedom. That's what the Mercatus Center at George Mason University reported in a document titled Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom.



Freedom in Virginia: How We Doin'?

Jason Sorens and Wililiam Ruger's latest study, "Freedom in the 50 States," is cited by the Richmond Times Dispatch. 

According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason UniversityVirginia qualifies as the tallest dachshund in the South. That is to say, it ranks as freer than other states below the Mason-Dixon line. It is less free, in some ways, than states elsewhere.



Slaves of New York: State is Dead Last in Liberties

Jason Sorens and William Ruger's latest study, "Freedom in the 50 States," is cited by the New York Post. 

Unshackle New York!

New York's notoriously high taxes and public spending, combined with restrictive "nanny" policies, make it the "least free" state in the country, a new study has found. The Empire State ranked 50th in George Mason University's biannual "Freedom in the States" rankings."New York has by far the highest taxes in the country," the study reads, citing steep levies on property, income and corporations compared to other states.



Study Says Bay State Trails in 'Freedom'

Jason Sorens and William Ruger's latest study on “Freedom in the 50 States" is cited by the Boston Herald. 

And, Ruger said, “People are voting with their feet.” A 2008 Carsey Institute survey found the Boston area is the largest source of migrants to New Hampshire. University of New Hampshire Survey Center director Andy Smith said a 2006 survey found that 56 percent of the people who traded Bay for Granite said high taxes were a factor in their move. People move for economic reasons first and foremost, jobs and housing,” Smith said. “But . . . taxes and political freedom probably have something to do with it.”



Utah and Freedom

Jason Sorens and William Ruger’s “Freedom in the 50 States” study was analyzed by the Deseret News editorial board.

The state ranks third in terms of regulatory policy, which reflects its overall business-friendly atmosphere. The report's recommendations for Utah include loosening its licensing requirements for taxi drivers and chauffeurs, funeral attendants, occupational therapist assistants, recreational therapists, interpreters and translators, and other occupations. That is a good suggestion.



Study: Calif. 48th in Economic Freedom

Jason Sorens and William Ruger discuss their latest edition of their study, “Freedom in the 50 States,” in the Orange county Register

Such policies matter, the study says, because "Americans are voting with their feet and moving to states with more economic and personal freedom and that economic freedom correlates with income growth."



NJ is the State Where Everything Has Its Price

Jason Sorens and William Ruger's latest study on “Freedom in the 50 States” is cited on 

The Mercatus study also calls the state’s high taxes an obstacle to economic freedom.

"Taxes are high ... property taxes are among the highest in the country and individual taxes are also high. ... Spending on education, particularly high," the survey said.



In Pennsylvania, Freedom's Just Another Word...

Jason Sorens and William Ruger's latest study “Freedom in the 50 States” is discussed by the Morning Call. 

Sorens emphasized unreasonable health insurance, a product of lobbying by special interests who want to sell products and services whether individuals need them or not. "Pennsylvania mandates add 43 percent of the cost of an average health insurance policy," he said, blaming drug and medical equipment suppliers. "A company that makes that wants the insurance company to be required to provide it." Sorens also said the dismal record of the state's legal system is a key factor. "Pennsylvania does come out below average … with respect to the tort system," he said. Not all the news was bad. "Pennsylvania is freer than all six of its neighboring states," his report said, "but has slipped since 2007. The state is mediocre on fiscal policy but much better than average on government employment."



National Study Ranks NH 1st for Overall Freedom 

The Freedom in the 50 States study from Jason Sorens and William Ruger was featured in an Associated Press story, and was picked up by the Boston Globe.



New York Least Free State, North Dakota The Most, Study Finds

This excerpt originally appeared in the New York Post on March 28, 2013.

The reason New York placed dead last, said "Freedom in the Fifty States" co-author Jason Sorens, an assistant professor at SUNY-Buffalo, can be summed up in one word. "Taxation. New York has by far the highest tax burden of any state," he said. But even Sorens admitted that New Yorkers might find other considerations -- like good restaurants -- more important. In fact, he said, that's what makes the winners so free.



State Ranks Dead Last in Personal Freedom

This excerpt originally appeared in the New York Post on March 29, 2013.

The Empire State ranked poorly for its heavy-handed economic regulations. For example, the report flunked New York’s rent-control laws, claiming it dampened economic development. Labor rules that include forcing government workers to pay union dues were also cited as a drag on the state. The study also found that New York has extensive health-insurance rules that inflate costs.



The 'Myth' of Tax Flight
August 12, 2011

The Carolina Journal cites the Mercatus Center's "Freedom in the 50 States" study: 

That people would leave a state when its officials seek to take more of their money, though, is hardly surprising, and it is consistent with findings from a Mercatus Center ranking of states in terms of personal and economic freedom.



Best States for Business: Behind the Numbers

This excerpt originally appeared in Forbes on Demember 12, 2012.

Regulatory environment includes metrics influenced by the government. We incorporated the regulatory component of the Freedom in the 50 States report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University for the first time. It considers labor regulations, health-insurance coverage mandates, occupational licensing, the tort system, right-to-work laws and more.

How Free Is Your State?
June 8, 2011

The Mercatus Center released its second edition of “Freedom in the 50 States,” which ranks states based on the economic and personal freedom afforded their citizens. The authors found that a state’s freedom level is important because the less free a state, the less likely its residents are to thrive.

The study is co-authored by Jason Sorens, assistant professor of political science, University of Buffalo (SUNY) and William Ruger, assistant professor of political science, Texas State University-San Marcos.

“We did this study because—while studies existed that looked at economic freedom levels across states—there wasn’t anything that looked more broadly to include personal freedoms, and we thought this was something worth measuring,” said Sorens.

Ruger adds, “Freedom is a means to lots of private ends we value, but freedom is also an end in and of itself.”