By Dave Fidlin | The Center Square
With high scores in government spending, taxes and other metrics, New Hampshire has taken the top spot in a new report examining how states and provinces across North America stack up against one another with economic policies.
The Fraser Institute, a Canadian-based public policy and research think tank, has released its Economic Freedom of North America 2020 report.
The 106-page document delves into individual units of government and examines how policies give residents the ability to make such personal economic decisions as what to buy, where to work and the feasibility of starting a business.
With an overall score of 7.84 out of 10 points in the organization’s scoring methodology, New Hampshire took the top spot in this year’s report, followed by Florida (7.73), Virginia (7.62), Texas (7.61) and Tennessee (7.55).
In a statement, Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said the results gleaned from the study correlate to fiscal policy within the state.
“New Hampshire has led the nation in streamlining government regulation to allow job-creators the opportunity to grow and expand,” Sununu said. “Our pro-jobs, pro-growth economic agenda is paying off for New Hampshire families, allowing them the freedom to spend their money as they see fit.”
Sununu also noted that New Hampshire was the only New England state to place in the top 10 of this year’s analysis. Elsewhere in the region, Massachusetts placed No. 18, Connecticut was No. 25, Maine was No. 37, Rhode Island was No. 43 and Vermont wound up at No. 46.
A trio of economists authored this year’s report: Fred McMahon of Canada, Dean Stansel of the U.S. and Jose Torra of Mexico.
In a news release outlining the rationale behind the report, McMahon said its findings have been aimed at demonstrating how public policy directly ties into local economies.
“When governments allow markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced and how much is produced, citizens enjoy greater levels of economic freedom,” McMahon said in a statement.
Fellow co-author Stansel said, “Higher levels of economic freedom lead to more opportunity, more prosperity, greater economic growth, more investment and jobs.”
Within this year’s report, New Hampshire took the top spot across the U.S. in the metric of government spending, netting a score of 8.8 out of 10 points.
In the category of labor market freedom, the state took the No. 3 position, with a score of 7.7 out of 10 points, trailing Virginia and Texas.
In terms of taxes, New Hampshire placed No. 6, scoring 7 out of 10 points in the study. Tennessee, Florida, Alaska, Wyoming and Alabama outpaced the state in the metric.
The Fraser Institute has been preparing annual reports on economic freedom for 16 years. According to the think tank’s analysts, the average U.S. score has been falling since the first report was released more than a decade-and-a-half ago – from an index score of 8.31 out of 10 points to 7.97.