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Does Ohio lack liberty?

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

It's a free country, but the amount of freedom varies from state to state, according to George Mason University's Mercatus Center, which has just issued a new report giving an index of personal and economic freedom in the 50 states.

The report ranks Ohio 38th in freedom overall. We're 32nd in economic freedom but only 46th in personal freedom, it says.

Here's what the report has to say about us:

"Ohio has much to improve. Adjusted government spending is only a standard deviation higher than average. Ohio is higher than average in every spending category except transportation. Gun control laws are relatively poor, though not in a class with Illinois, New Jersey and others. Marijuana laws are liberal overall, but cultivation and sale sentencing could be reformed. Most gambling is illegal. Private and home school regulations are unreasonable, including teacher licensure and mandatory state approval of home school curricula. Asset forfeiture rules are appropriate. Eminent domain reform has not gone nearly far enough. Draconian smoking bans are in place."

The Mercatus folks say New Hampshire is the "most free" state overall.

South Dakota is tops for economic freedom (high sales taxes, but other taxes and spending are low)  and Alaska is on top for personal freedom (small amounts of pot are legal, gun laws are the least restrictive in the U.S.)

Mercatus ranks New York as the "least free" state. Go there if you like high taxes and high government spending, Mercatus says.

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