Florida Ranked Number One In Fiscal And Economic Freedom

Florida is ranked as the best state in the U.S. for both fiscal and economic freedom. That is from the libertarian Cato Institute’s “Freedom in the 50 States” index, which gave the nod to the Sunshine State for the second straight year.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was quick to tweet the news. Besides the top ranking for fiscal and economic matters, Florida ranked second in both education freedom and overall freedom in the nation.

Part of the Cato Institute’s conclusions came from the aggressive way the state stood behind business freedoms during the pandemic. While much of the country raced to lock doors, the Republican-led state took the lead in permitting companies to make individualized and common sense choices.

The Institute defined freedom as the ability of individuals to “dispose of their lives, liberties, and property as they see fit, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others.”

Much of the state’s high ranking came from its government limiting taxation and debt. The report noted that tax collections, government consumption, and obligations are all lower than the national average.

One recommendation the Institute had for Florida was to decentralize taxing and spending powers from counties to cities and municipalities. This would make it easier for smaller locales to control their own school districts.

In the area of educational freedom, the state’s high ranking came from public school choice, homeschooler’s control of their own curriculum, years of compulsory education, and mandatory state approval of private schools.

The Parental Rights in Education Bill was not reflected in the Cato Institute rankings as it came after the cutoff for the data used, which was Jan. 1, 2020.

In DeSantis’ state of the state address earlier this year that opened the 2022 legislative session, he declared the state to be the freest in the nation. He called Florida “freedom’s vanguard” and criticized those that crush their citizens under high taxes and oppressive regulations.

The top five most free states according to the Cato Institute, in order, are New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and South Dakota. The bottom five, starting at #46, are Oregon, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and New York.