From Investor's Business Daily:
The "Freedom in the 50 States" study measured economic and personal freedom using a wide range of criteria, including tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and state laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control, education choice and more.
The freest state overall was North Dakota, followed by South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Oklahoma. The least free state by far was New York, followed by California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Rhode Island.Best news: North Dakota beat out Montana, which didn't even get into the top five. I think it has to do with Montana's strict speed limit after dark. A freeway speed limit of 85 for Texas did not help push that state into the top five, however.
But look at the other criteria: gun control and education choice.
The most interesting two words in the story? "By far."
The data also show that blue states have generally become less free over the past decade, while red states have tended to gain additional levels of freedom.
The states with the biggest declines in freedom were Wyoming, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Kansas.
Those with the biggest gains were Oklahoma, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico.
And contrary to conventional wisdom, the researchers found that conservative states are just as likely as liberal ones to score well on measures of personal freedom, which looked at laws covering marijuana use, gambling, marriage rights, alcohol and tobacco use, gun control, victimless crimes and the like.
"Personal freedom does not relate straightforwardly to the left-right spectrum at all," the study noted.Wyoming? Who wudda thought?