Freedom in the 50 states

March 28, 2013 | By TIMOTHY SANDEFUR

The Mercatus Center’s annual report tracking freedom in the states has just been released. Unsurprisingly, California ranks near the bottom.

California not only taxes and regulates its economy more than most other states, but also aggressively interferes in the personal lives of its citizens…. The total tax burden comes to 10.8 percent of income, a standard deviation above the national average. Government interference in the land market is rife, as California’s zoning laws are among the toughest in the country, and the state is one of just four to authorize rent control, while eminent domain abuse has seen only token reform. Labor laws impose many costs on employers, from the minimum wage and a universal workers’ compensation mandate to short-term disability insurance and paid family leave. Health insurance mandates add about 49.5 percent to the cost of a premium of a policy without any of the mandated benefits. However, there is no community rating, guaranteed issue, or prior approval of rates in the nongroup health insurance market. Occupational licensing is rampant, and the nursing professions are tightly regulated. The state’s liability system is one of the poorest in the nation and has gradually worsened over time. The life and property/casualty insurance markets are among the most regulated in the nation….

Despite a reputation for social liberalism, California scores badly on personal freedoms….

Pages 30 and 31 of the report discuss property rights, and eminent domain reform specifically. California again ranks nearly last. And pages 36 and 37 discuss the right to earn a living, and again the Pyrite State is at the bottom.

Read the rest here.