Freedom is a topic that is complicated in it's subjectivity. For some being able to open carry is freedom, for others building on their own land without the need for permits is the other. But based on Cato’s criteria, here are the freest and least free states in the USA.
The report by the Cato Institute examines everything from tax laws to gun laws to government regulation to education freedom and found that the five freest states are:
1. New Hampshire
5. South Dakota
The five states with the least freedom are:
7. New Jersey
10. New York
The reasons why the Empire State came in No. 50 in the freedom survey include:
• A local tax burden twice that of the average state.
• Local taxes consuming 7.8 percent of the average New Yorker’s income.
• The nation’s strictest gun control laws.
• Laws that make it perhaps the worst state for homeschooling.
Some of the reasons why New Hampshire ranked so high include:
• State taxes as a share of personal income at 2.8 percent.
• Local taxes as a share of income at 4.8 percent.
• One of the best states for gun rights; there are almost no restrictions on concealed and open carry.
Ruger and Soren calculated freedom in each state using more than 230 variables. Some of these included land-use regulations, insurance requirements, licensing, gun rights and asset forfeiture. Cato is a libertarian think tank.
These rankings were divided into three broad categories: regulatory policy, personal freedom and fiscal policy. Regulatory policy is a measure of how much freedom businesses have in a state, personal freedom is a ranking of individual liberty, and fiscal policy is a measure of the level of taxes and government spending.
Cato’s finding rings true at the state level; left out, however, is the “freedom quotient” of local governments. For example infrastructure and freedom of movement – rural states tend to have only a couple of major highways, if that, which can greatly restrict bug-out potential, although they tend have much more open and wild spaces.
Tell us your opinion below and for more information on Cato’s study, check out Off the Grid News.