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Indiana Ranked as Third Freest State

6/15/2011

Freedom Rankings

  • #3 Overall
  • #13 Economic
  • #4 Personal

 

Stats Breakdown

Change in overall freedom, 2007–2009:
0.02
Change in overall freedom ranking since 2007:
+2
Net domestic migration, 2000–2009 (% of 2000 population):
–0.4%
Governor, 2011:
Mitch Daniels (R)
Legislature, 2011:
House 59R/40D, Senate 37R/13

 

Analysis

Indiana is one of the rare outposts of freedom in the northeastern quadrant of the country. Fiscal policies are about average, but we see a warning sign in government debt, which increased by 4.1 percent of personal income between FY 2006 and FY 2008. In those years, tax collections fell, but spending increased as a percentage of the economy. Indiana has deregulated natural gas, telecom, and cable, and it licenses the fewest occupations in the country as a percentage of its workforce. The state has managed to construct a relatively humane marijuana-sentencing regime without decriminalizing. Indiana has good education laws, with very light regulation of home and private schools, but it has recently expanded the mandatory years of schooling from 9 to 11. Indiana has very little campaign-finance regulation, except for corporate PACs; it has also repealed its public financing. There are smoking bans across the board, but they all have meaningful exceptions. Gambling laws are odd but make sense in a public choice, Baptists-and-bootleggers fashion38: The state depends heavily on revenues from casinos, but it also bans social gaming, makes unauthorized gambling a felony, and has enacted a ban on Internet gaming.
 
 

Policy Recommendations

  1. Indiana spends more than average on public welfare and hospitals.We recommend constraining these budgets and using savings to retire debt.
  2. Repeal blue laws.
  3. Repeal the Internet-gaming ban, legalize social gambling, and make “aggravated gambling” a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
38:Bruce Yandle, “Bootleggers and Baptists: The Education of a Regulatory Economist,”Regulation (May/June 1983): 12–16
 
State Freedom Calculator
You know how free your state is today, but how free could it be in the future? Here are four policies from each area of the index--fiscal, regulatory, and paternalist--that allow you to play policy maker. Select from the options below and observe as your state''s rankings in economic, personal, and overall freedom will be recalculated in real time and your state''s ranking will rise or fall depending on your choices.
 
 Study Complete By: MERCATUS CENTER AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY


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