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Freedom in the 50 States

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This is an interesting George Mason University study (2009) I ran into while surfing the web.

It purports to be "the first-ever comprehensive ranking of the American states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres." It has a writeup on each state, describing the state of that state with respect to freedom in all three spheres (economic, social and personal).

And for those who care, gun rights are part of the "personal" sphere. The PDF more fully describes the various freedoms and their weightings.

I will excerpt a few states below - Vermont (for obvious reasons), New Jersey (since I live here), California and Texas.

Vermont

Vermont (#45 economic, #11 personal, #40 overall) must be considered one of the least free states in the Union, unless all one is interested in are guns and civil unions. The overall tax burden is by one measure the third highest in the country (10.6% of corrected GSP). Property taxes are a particular problem, and selective sales taxes, largely aimed at tourists, bring in more as a percentage of the economy than in any other state except Nevada. Vermont is

the most fiscally centralized state by far, with local governments raising just 11.5% of total state and local

expenditures. Local governments are dependent on state grants for over 70 % of their revenue, the highest figure in the United States. Like Utah, Vermont has full state control of beer, wine, and spirits distribution. Marijuana laws could be much better; while low-level cultivation is a misdemeanor, high-level possession is not, and low-level possession is still criminalized. However, arrests for victimless crimes are much better than the national average. Vermont requires approval for all private schools, and notification and standardized testing requirements for

homeschoolers are burdensome. Labor laws are worse than average, with a very high minimum wage when adjusted for median earnings. Vermont has pure community rating for health insurance, but at least has not piled on as many coverage mandates as most other states. Eminent domain has not been effectively reformed yet. Campaign finance limits are quite strict. Smoking bans are pervasive, and cigarette taxes are high. On the positive side, the state has

civil unions and some of the best overall gun laws in the country.

New Jersey

New Jersey is a highly regulated state all around, #46 on economic freedom, #45 on personal freedom, and #49 overall. Taxes and spending are high. Spending on education is particularly high. Property taxes are among the highest in the country, and individual income taxes are also high. Gun control is extensive. Marijuana laws are subpar. New Jersey has primary seat-belt enforcement, motorcycle and bicycle helmet laws, a cell phone driving ban, an open-container law, sobriety checkpoints, and mandatory liability and personal injury coverage for automobiles. Fireworks are prohibited. Asset forfeiture is largely unreformed. Cigarette taxes are stratospheric, and smoking bans are as draconian as any in the country. On the positive side, alcohol is taxed fairly reasonably, and, like Nevada, casino and slots gambling are legal statewide. More importantly, private and home school regulations are surprisingly light, extending only to broad curriculum requirements. Civil unions are also recognized. On economic regulation, labor laws are predictably costly, statewide land-use planning (“smart growth”) is in force, and there is extensive community rating for private health insurance. On other issues, however, New Jersey is about average.

California

Contrary to popular perception, California not only taxes and regulates its economy more than most other states, it also aggressively interferes in the personal lives of its citizens. California ranks #48 on economic freedom and #37 on personal freedom. California simply needs to cut government spending. The budgetary categories most out of line with the rest of the country are public safety, natural resources and environment, and administration. The state actually does not spend more than average on education and social services. For a large state, it is also fairly

centralized, with local governments receiving about half of their revenue in state grants, and almost two-thirds of all state and local tax revenues controlled by Sacramento. Labor laws are of course extremely strict; for instance, California is one of only five states to mandate short-term disability insurance. Health insurance mandates add about 60 percent to the cost of premiums in the state. Eminent domain reform has been cosmetic, and the state’s liability

system almost reaches the abysmal quality of the Deep South. On personal freedoms, California does well of course on same-sex partnerships and marijuana, but it also has the most restrictive gun laws in the country, a highly restrictive policy regime for motorists, and smoking bans. Arrests for victimless crimes are surprisingly high, with 21.6 percent of all arrests being for victimless crimes, the fifth highest in the country. Effective homeschooling regulations are about average, but the state has no statute explicitly permitting homeschooling. Fortunately, the state has a reasonable asset forfeiture regime (burden of proof on government,owner knowledge of criminal activity required).

Texas

Texas (#7 economic, #5 personal, #5 overall) has one of the smallest state governments in the country. Nevertheless, as one of us who lives in Texas can testify, there are plenty of areas where improvement is needed. As a percentage of corrected GSP, Texas has the second lowest tax burden in the country and the third lowest grants-adjusted government spending. However, government employment is a standard deviation higher than the national average.

Gun control is better than average, but the state falls short on open-carry laws, stricter-than-federal minimum age for purchase rules, and dealer licensing. Alcohol is less regulated than in most other states, and taxes are low. Low-level marijuana cultivation is a misdemeanor, but otherwise marijuana laws are very harsh. Texas does not authorize sobriety checkpoints. Private and home schools are almost completely unregulated. Labor laws are generally

good, except for a prevailing wage law. Texas is the only state not to require employers to contribute to workers’ compensation coverage. While Texas has only light community rating, it has imposed mandated coverages on health insurance increasing the cost of premiums by more than 63%.45 Texas is one of the leaders in telecom and cable “deregulation.” Unfortunately, eminent domain has not been extensively reformed. The state’s liability system is much

worse than average; ending the election of judges may help here. There are no smoking bans on private property.

http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/publication/Freedom_in_the_50_States.pdf

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This is an interesting George Mason University study (2009) I ran into while surfing the web.

It purports to be "the first-ever comprehensive ranking of the American states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres." It has a writeup on each state, describing the state of that state with respect to freedom in all three spheres (economic, social and personal).

And for those who care, gun rights are part of the "personal" sphere. The PDF more fully describes the various freedoms and their weightings.

I will excerpt a few states below - Vermont (for obvious reasons), New Jersey (since I live here), California and Texas.

http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/publication/Freedom_in_the_50_States.pdf

Vermont is AWESOME! Lowest crime rate too! Selective sales tax means no slaes tax on clothes, shoes and food. It does not go unnoticed in Quebec. :rofl:


VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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Vermont is AWESOME! Lowest crime rate too! Selective sales tax means no slaes tax on clothes, shoes and food. It does not go unnoticed in Quebec. :rofl:

Vermont has full state control of beer, wine, and spirits distribution.

That is communist #######! What the hell????

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Yep. California is a one party state, and administered like you would expect any socialist country to be run dominated by the central committee. However, the weather and the scenery more than make up for it. It is sorta like the difference between being miserable and married, or free but dateless on a Saturday night.

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Vermont has full state control of beer, wine, and spirits distribution.

That is communist #######! What the hell????

I don't drink. I know they have beer at the grocery stores, doesn't seem any different to me than anywhere else, but I don't buy it.


VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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I've only spent any appreciable time in Portsmouth. Loved it, although I could never live there.

Portsmouth is a great little city. New Hampshire is definitely underrated. It's beautiful. It's like Vermont, but for people who like freedom.

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Sounds about right. Vermont is all about big government socialism. Reading about it made me feel a little sick.

Big government? The capital is no bigger than a school building in most states. :lol:


VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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Big government?

Vermont is the most fiscally centralized state by far, with local governments raising just 11.5% of total state and local expenditures. Local governments are dependent on state grants for over 70 % of their revenue, the highest figure in the United States. Like Utah, Vermont has full state control of beer, wine, and spirits distribution.

Yes, big government.

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Vermont is the most fiscally centralized state by far, with local governments raising just 11.5% of total state and local expenditures. Local governments are dependent on state grants for over 70 % of their revenue, the highest figure in the United States. Like Utah, Vermont has full state control of beer, wine, and spirits distribution.

Yes, big government.

I'm sure Gary will walk over to Sen. Leahy's house and get this all sorted out.

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Big things come in small packages.

you been hanging out in the rub forum again?


* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

 

USE THE REPORT BUTTON INSTEAD OF MESSAGING A MODERATOR!

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Vermont is the most fiscally centralized state by far, with local governments raising just 11.5% of total state and local expenditures. Local governments are dependent on state grants for over 70 % of their revenue, the highest figure in the United States. Like Utah, Vermont has full state control of beer, wine, and spirits distribution.

Yes, big government.

Did you miss the part where we have a constitution and a legislature and we CHOSE that method of funding? Or do you think it is an armed version of the Soviet Union and we are forced to accept this? :wacko: There is a reason.

"local schools" are most often educating children that live fourty miles away or more. Our son was going to the same high school when we lived 38 miles north of here. Should the people of this community pay for that? No. The local school gets a large percentage of money from the state because a large percentage of their students do not live or pay tax in that community where the school is located. A few years ago we had lots of school DISTRICTS with 12 students. De-centralized but stupid. Many of the smaller schools are being closed and consolidated. Vermont schools are not lacking in quality and we have one of the highest graduation rates, but the unique challenges of a state where people are thinly populated and scattered all over mountains where they may be 1 mile from town "as the crow flies" but 8 miles on roads. The other day I drove more than 40 miles to go from one town to another, the towns are 8 miles apart. The road is closed through the pass in the winter and you have to go around the mountain. The same kind of thing applies to roads and other government functions. So called "centralization" works better in a place that is small to begin with. It is not unusual for me to visit a work site in Swanton in the morning, drive all the way to the opposite corner of the state for an afternoon inspection and be home in time for dinner, back in the Northwest part. No one is more than about an hour's drive from the capital.

Vermont is the size of some counties in Texas and has much less population than a small city in the rest of the country. How smart would it be to have a de-centralized government? Should Lousiville be governed by precincts? Nashvlle? Both have more population that Vermont.

The chart you quote is a conservative report. Conservative values rank high. I am sure we get no points for marriage and civl unions, we have both and yes, gays can do either. So what? We have a high minimum wage. Bad? 38 states control alcohol. It is not an issue I am knowledgeable of but there appears to be no shortage of alcohol availability.


VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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