Manchester, NH: According to the latest Freedom in the 50 States report released by the Cato Institute today, New Hampshire is once again the freest state in the U.S. This report ranks American states by looking at more than 230 public policy variables affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres.
New Hampshire’s economic freedom ranking has improved continuously since 2008, and its personal freedom ranking has increased significantly since 2006. Factors influencing New Hampshire's improved ranking include: tax cuts after the 2010 elections, the repeal of the certificate of need requirement for new hospital construction, telecom deregulation, liberalization of same-sex partnerships well before federal court decisions required it, enactment of a new tax credit program for school choice, and a new medical marijuana law.
“The Free State Project has been attracting thousands of liberty activists to New Hampshire for more than a decade,” said FSP president, Matt Philips. “It’s rewarding to see the Granite State reclaim its rightful place as the freest place in the U.S. This is proof positive that concentrating activists in one place can turn the tide of government overreach.”
Since selecting New Hampshire as its destination in 2003, almost 2,000 activists have moved here to participate in the Free State Project, while another 2,500 who already lived here have signed up. 18,000 more have pledged to move within five years.
Freedom in New Hampshire has further improved since the closing date of the study due to additional business tax cuts and the abolition of civil asset forfeiture.
“The tax relief to employers that went in effect this year has been an unqualified success,” said Greg Moore, state director for the New Hampshire chapter of Americans for Prosperity. “When we made the case for cutting some of the highest business taxes in the country two years ago, we said it would spur on a wave of growth, and the state’s revenue for this year absolutely validates our point,” said Moore, referring to the $100 million budget surplus in 2016.
Jason Sorens, co-author of the report and founder of the Free State Project fifteen years ago, said for New Hampshire to hold on to the top spot, “Areas like regulatory burdens on new home construction and the freedom to choose your occupation will need to be addressed in the future.” Sorens went on to say, “Other areas with room for improvement include legalizing marijuana – something more than two-thirds of Granite Staters favor – liberalizing gaming, and reforming the Department of Justice's end-run around state forfeiture laws, known as ‘equitable sharing.’"
“While other places slide backward into tyranny,” said Philips, “here in New Hampshire, the future of Granite Staters’ liberties grows brighter every day.”
Visit the Freedom in the 50 States website to see the full report.