New Jersey ranks very low in overall freedom
Earlier this month the Cato Institute released the latest edition of Freedom in the 50 States, which ranks the American states based on how their public policies affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. Well, the good news is at least we're not dead last. That honor or should I say, dishonor went to our neighbor to the north, New York State. The usual suspects like California and Hawaii came next.
New Jersey ranked 47th in overall freedom. The overall freedom ranking is a combination of personal and economic freedoms. It's based on more than 230 state and local public policies. We all know that property taxes are way too high, but our income tax is not a bargain either. To determine the rankings, authors William Ruger and Jason Sorens examine state and local government intervention across a range of policy categories—from taxation to debt, eminent domain laws to occupational licensing, and drug policy to educational choice.
The authors’ policy recommendations for the state are:
- Fiscal: Cut spending on the “miscellaneous” category and income and property taxes.
- Regulatory: End rent control, especially given its unintended consequences on housing quality and quantity.
- Personal: Fully free wine sales from the currently arcane regulatory system.
It doesn't look like anything will change significantly in our state politically. People either just put up with it because of family ties and it's a great place to live. But many have chosen to flee. If you don't mind cold weather, New Hampshire is ranked #1 in freedom. Florida was second and other warm-weather states like Georgia and Tennessee ranked in the top ten as well. Pick your "free state" or hunker down here in Jersey, cause it aint gonna get better any time soon.
Protected by Avanan: Washington, D.C. – Today the Cato Institute released the latest edition of Freedom in the 50 States, which ranks the American states based on how their public policies affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres.
In this edition, New Hampshire, Florida, South Dakota, Nevada, and Arizona sit at the top of the rankings. New York again has the dishonor of being the least free state, preceded by Hawaii, California, New Jersey, and Oregon. You can view overall rankings and see how each state performs in a variety of categories at Freedominthe50States.org.
Ruger and Sorens score all 50 states on their overall respect for individual freedom, and also on their respect for three dimensions of freedom considered separately: fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. To calculate these scores, they weigh public policies based on the estimated costs that individuals suffer when the government restricts their freedoms.
This 2023 edition improves on the methodology for weighting and combining state and local policies to create a comprehensive index. The authors introduce new policy variables suggested by readers and changes in the broader policy environment, which include but are not limited to a battery of state-level land-use laws affecting housing, new occupational licensing measures, and qualified immunity limitations.
Published by the Cato Institute and accompanied by demographic and economic data on each state, Freedom in the 50 States is an essential desk reference for anyone interested in state policy and advancing a better understanding of a free society.
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