“The freest economies operate with minimal government interference, relying upon personal choice and markets to answer basic economic questions such as what is to be produced, how it is to be produced, how much is produced, and for whom production is intended. As government imposes restrictions on these choices, there is less economic freedom.”
So wrote the authors of the latest economic freedom report put out by the Fraser Institute of Canada. The study lumped all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces together to come up with its North American rankings, which were divided into one showing all federal, state and local scores and one showing just the state and local tallies. So a state with a good ranking in one could drop in another.
On the same December 12 day that Fraser released its study of states, so, too, did the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. Other institutes and a university produced state rankings during 2013. As a resource to our members, NFIB lists the major ones below. The Tax Foundation produced two during the year. They are listed below from most recent to earliest.
All of the studies below are broad snapshots, warns William J. Dennis, senior fellow at the NFIB Research Foundation, who has been studying small-business issues for 37 years. “They are dependent on variables that the researchers bring from prior policy positions. Additionally, not every business and state is affected in the same way by the same variable. If you produce aluminum, low energy costs are paramount to your business’s survival. And you can be doing quite well even in a high tax state. Conversely, if you’re in a service business, energy costs may be nothing to you, but higher taxes are everything. These are some of the reason NFIB has chosen to center its research on what small business owners think, not what outsiders choose to measure.”
Economic Freedom of North America 2013
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Small Business Policy Index 2013: Ranking The States On Policy Measures And Costs Impacting Small Business And Entrepreneurship
2014 State Business Tax Climate Index
American Legislative Exchange Council
Rich States, Poor States, 6th Edition: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitive Index
Facts and Figures: How Does Your State Compare?
Small Business Friendliness Survey
Mercatus Center, George Mason University
Freedom in the 50 States, An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom