The Cato Institute once again ranked New York as the least free state in the country based on the rankings of personal and economic freedoms.
In November, the libertarian think-tank released the latest edition of its “Freedom in the 50 States” study analyzing states along 230 different metrics ranging “from taxation to debt, eminent domain laws to occupational licensing, and drug policy to educational choice,” according to its website.
Based on “crushing” state and local taxes and its high regulatory environment, the report concluded that not only has New York remained low in freedoms, but it is unlikely to rise any time soon.
“New York has been the least free state in the country for a long time. In fact, the Empire State has been the worst state for freedom in every year since our data set began in 2000. Economic freedom is the most significant weakness and is continuing to get worse absolutely,” the analysis read.
The state did maintain higher rankings under specific “personal freedoms,” ranking ninth in “incarceration,” 16th under “cannabis” regulations and 20th in “marriage freedom.” However, other personal freedoms such as “gun rights” (#42) and “tobacco” (#49) still ranked low.
New York was similarly ranked as the least free state in the country back in 2021 with the report specifically calling out its progressive stances.
“Economic freedom is the most significant weakness, but the state has not kept up with the rest of the country on personal freedom either. It belies the ‘blue’ state stereotype in that it is No. 50 on economic freedom and personal freedom,” the 2021 report read.
New Hampshire was once again ranked the freest state, narrowly overtaking Florida, which ranks second.
“New Hampshire grabs the top spot overall because it does well in both economic freedom (first) and personal freedom (fourth), something that is also true of number-four state Nevada but is not so much the case with Florida, which does great on economic freedom but is only 22nd on personal freedom,” the report read.
The Cato Institute also offered advice on how New York can improve its rankings.
“Spending is high in many categories; cut it across the board. Cut all taxes and pay down debt. Abolish the housing anchor that is rent control. At least free the moving companies that help empty and fill the housing that does exist by getting rid of certificate-of-need laws. Slash cigarette taxes, which are so high as to be almost tantamount to prohibition,” the report read.
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