Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Washington among the least-free states

Washington is among the least-free states: #40 of 50. Mercatus Center at George Mason University has been compiling and weighting data for this composite for several years.

Their measures have three primary parts: fiscal, regulatory and paternalism. Fiscal is spending and taxing with special weight for debit, since it is future taxing. Regulation includes labor, health insurance mandates, occupational licensing, legal liability, eminent domain, land use and utility regulation. The paternalism category is really personal freedom: gambling, alcohol, automotive, tobacco, campaign finance, asset forfeiture, marriage/unions, drug laws, prostitution, assisted suicide, gun control and education. They stay away from abortion and death penalty.

Washington comes in #32 on fiscal, a very poor #42 on regulation and #23 on personal freedom; combined to #40.


They give recommendations for each state. For Washington:
(1) Reduce spending consistent with the state’s relatively decent tax-burden levels, starting with reducing government employment and spending on natural resources (mostly at the state government level) and sewerage (at the local government level), which is particularly far above national norms.
(2) Enact further-reaching eminent-domain reform.
(3) Reduce centralized land-use planning by repealing or amending the Growth Management Act and Shoreline Management Act.
That's just a start. Taxes on businesses just got worse. We have requirements on health insurance that drive up the costs for everyone...

Graphic: States with more Democrat and Green voters are on the right with less freedom. Click to enlarge.

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