The Mercatus Center at George Mason University publishes an annual survey of freedom in the states, ranking them from most free to least free. The most free is North Dakota, which is experiencing an energy boom and has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate.
The least free? The state ruled by the Nanny Twins, Michael Bloomberg and Andrew Cuomo.
New York is by far the least free state in the Union. It is therefore no surprise that New York residents have been heading for the exits: 9.0 percent of the state’s 2000 population, on net, left the state for another state between 2000 and 2011, the highest such figure in the nation.1
New York has, by a wide margin, the highest taxes in the country: 14.0 percent of income, three and a half standard deviations above the national mean. New York is also the most indebted state, setting its own record high in FY 2010 at 33.2 percent of income. By comparison, government consumption plus subsidies and employment are only ranked slightly higher than average, implying that the state could benefit by shifting revenue sources from taxation and license fees to user fees.
New York also fares poorly on economic regulation and personal freedoms, while it spends too much on pretty much everything and its taxes, like the rent, are too high. Basically, New York leaves very few real choices up to citizens. Cuomo and Bloomberg govern the place like strict parents over millions of wards.
The second least free state, to no one’s surprise, is the other big blue state that can’t seem to govern itself: California.