New Hampshire tops the freedom scale!

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PostWed Mar 25, 2009 5:12 pm » by Wrathofkahn


Besides the following article, we also do not pay a sales or income tax and are doing just fine! Petition your state leaders!

Study measures states by personal, economic freedoms
Areas with the least amount of regulations ranked high in report

By Julie Carr Smyth
The Associated Press

A new study raises an intriguing question: How free is your state?

The index of personal and economic freedom, developed by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., is wide-ranging and comes from an individual-rights perspective.

The study, released late February, ranks New Hampshire, Colorado, South Dakota and Idaho as most free. New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and California are ranked as the least free.

By the researchers' measure, ordinances such as seat-belt laws and sobriety checkpoints "count as notable infringements on individual liberty."

The index also issued freedom demerits for alcohol regulations, including taxes on beer, wine and spirits and "blue laws" that prohibit Sunday alcohol sales.

Laws that allow residents to carry concealed handguns are considered good. As are relatively lax marijuana laws.

The study also lists "paternalistic" government activities: bicycle and motorcycle helmet laws, regulations requiring motorists to carry personal injury insurance, home- and private-school regulations and campaign-finance rules and asset forfeiture laws that allow government to take property without a conviction of the owner.

Amy Hanauer, a former New Yorker and Coloradan who is now executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal think tank in Cleveland, said she finds the idea that New York is the nation's least free state absurd. She said the study appears to give high marks to states with particularly low taxes, such as Colorado.

"You can talk about freedom broadly — being able to practice the religion of your choice, speak the language you choose. … But to lump that in with the freedom from paying taxes is something I've always found troubling and not very persuasive," Hanauer said.

"The public sector is what enables us to pursue many other freedoms in our lives," she said, "by keeping us safe, keeping our water clean, and giving us the ability to know that we are not surrounded by people who are in desperate want, which can also affect our freedom."

The researchers — political scientists William Ruger of Texas State University and Jason Sorens of the State University of New York-Buffalo — note that no one area of the country nor political party appears consistently to offer citizens more freedom. Much has to do with state politics and a state's social attitudes.

For example:

•California, ranked 47th in overall freedom, is more lenient on marijuana and same-sex partner laws, but its laws are tougher on gun owners, motorists and smokers. Labor laws are also strict. The study cites California as one of five states that require short-term disability insurance.

•Mississippi, ranked 25th, has high taxes and "eminent domain abuse has not been curtailed," the study says, but it is one of a few states without an open-container prohibition for car passengers, and regulation of home-schooling is minimal.

•Florida, ranked 22nd, does not have a personal income tax, but its property and general sales taxes are higher than average, the study finds.

•New Hampshire, ranked first, has among the most liberal gun laws in the USA, although a permit is required to carry a firearm in a car, the study says. The state lacks a motorcycle helmet law (though it has a bicycle helmet law) and is the only state without a seat-belt law for adults.
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