|Kansas as No. 1
Wall Street Journal
November 24, 2004
Retiring to the sofa after turkey dinner tomorrow, most Americans may feel
they have little in common with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock. But one
defining feature of 17th-century Americans remains: We still migrate for
American mobility is legendary and the notion that it is driven by a desire
for liberty is the basis for the methodology behind the Pacific Research
Institute's U.S. Economic Freedom Index released last week. Kansas is
America's freest state while New York -- home of the Statue of Liberty --
ranks at the bottom.
The Index uses five categories -- fiscal, regulatory, judicial, government
size and welfare -- to measure and compare economic freedom in the 50
states. Among the variables are tax rates, state spending, occupation
licensing, environmental regulations, income redistribution, right-to-work
laws, minimum wage and tort law. Co-author Lawrence McQuillian writes that
Kansas won the top spot "largely due to its respect for property rights: It
engages in less income redistribution and attracts less tort litigation than
Along with the Heritage Foundation, we publish a world-wide index that over
the years has underscored the essential link between economic freedom and
prosperity. And sure enough, the Pacific Research Institute study finds that
a 10% improvement in a state's economic freedom score yields, on average,
about a half-percent increase in annual per-capita income. If all states
were as free as Kansas, the annual income of the average American worker
would increase 4.42%, or $1,161. Over a 40-year period, that would add
$87,541 to a lifetime income.
U.S. ECONOMIC FREEDOM INDEX
Pacific Research Institute ranks the 50 States.
1. Kan. 11. Ariz. 21. Mont. 31. Wash. 41. Mass.
2. Colo. 12. Nev. 22. Fla. 32. W. Va. 42. N.J.
3. Va. 13. S.C. 23. Ark. 33. Alaska 43. Ohio
4. Idaho 14. Ind. 24. N.C. 34. Mich. 44. Minn.
5. Utah 15. S.D. 25. Ala 35. Hawaii 45. Penn.
6. Okla. 16. Iowa 26. Tenn 36. Vt. 46. Ill.
7. N.H. 17. Texas 27. Md. 37. N.M. 47. R.I.
8. Del. 18. N.D. 28. Miss. 38. Wisc. 48. Conn.
9. Wy. 19. Ga. 29. Ore. 39. Ky. 49. Calif.
10. Mo. 20. Neb. 30. Maine 40. La. 50. N.Y.