New York: Dead Last In Freedom

Burdensome taxes and regulations, further taxes disguised as fees, and a reputation as a nanny state have finally reaped rewards for New York State:  They’ve been heralded by a John Locke Foundation study as the worst state in the nation for such things as fiscal, regulatory, health care and educational freedoms.

Via the New York Post:

The United States might be the “land of the free,” but some states are clearly freer than others. Based on a new national ranking, New Yorkers have the worst claim to the benefits of a free society.

This week, the North Carolina-based John Locke Foundation published its inaugural First in Freedom Index. Using more than 60 data points, we calculated fiscal, educational, regulatory and health-care freedom in the 50 states.

New York ranked last.

Between high taxes and onerous regulations, New Yorkers are squeezed more than residents of other states, on top of the high cost of living.

For individual rankings, New York comes in at 47th for fiscal freedoms, 37th in educational freedoms, 46th in regulatory freedoms and 49th in health care freedoms.

New York isn’t the only blue state that struggles in the Freedom Index – When cross-referencing from the 2012 electoral map, 8 of the 10 states ranked as having the least freedom for its citizens are “blue” or Democrat states.

Conversely, 8 out of the top 10 states for freedom lovers are “red” or Republican states.

The John Locke Foundation study also takes note of this disparity, showing that at least 7 of the 8 states cited above are either “deep red” or “true blue.”

During the past several election cycles, it has become fashionable to identify Redstates, Blue states, and Purple states based on the partisan preferences of voters.  It turns out that these classifications of political culture may also have a bearing on freedom-enhancing policies. Of the 10 states with the highest FFI rankings, seven of them — Arizona, South Dakota, Georgia, Louisiana, Utah, Oklahoma, and Wyoming — are deeply Red. That is, they have Republican-controlled state governments, GOP majorities in their congressional delegations, two Republican U.S. senators, and vote reliably Republican for president. At the other end of the list, seven of the 10 states with the lowest FFI rankings are either true Blue or lean Democratic: New York, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Mexico, and Massachusetts.
The study used a “sizable body of empirical research” to determine that the burdens of living in an anti-freedom state such as New York will hinder economic growth, student achievement, entrepreneurship, and overall quality of life.

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