Freedom in the 50 States: Utah makes top 10; New York comes in last

Published: Saturday, March 30 2013 9:12 a.m. MDT

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Associated Press
California taxes and regulates more than most other states, the report said, but also "aggressively interferes" in the personal lives of its citizens, making it the second-to-last least free state in the U.S.

The budgetary categories in which California spends significantly more than the rest of the country include general administration housing and community development, utilities and employee retirement, the report said. Individual and business income taxes are also well above average. Zoning laws, eminent domain abuse, labor laws, health insurance mandates and occupational licensing also hurt the state's ranking.

In spite of the state's reputation for social liberalism, California's gun control laws, high incarceration rates, drug enforcement rates, smoking bans, gambling and traveling freedom all impact the state's personal freedom score.

Policy recommendations include cutting spending, enacting tort reform and expanding legal gambling.
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Park City, Ut

So this is what reporting in America has come to? Relying on obviously biased outlets as a news source for a story? Really? Meractus Center is funded entirely by the Koch Brothers and Koch industries, the owners of various chemical and oil/gas production companies You think they have financial incentives as a motivation for lambasting states with tighter environmental regulations? I laugh at the idea of such a study by the way, yea Utah grants lots of freedoms to business and corporations, but when it comes to individual freedoms, except for carrying a gun, because this is the wild west after all, Utah is the nannyest of nanny states! Where being an adult is not a right... and it's hardly a privilege!

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

According to this, low taxes for the rich, and low regulation for business are the only two components of freedom.

Weston Jurney
West Jordan, UT

The Koch Brothers, the same fat cat billionaires who fund the Tea Party, funded this "report." SHAME on you, DesNews, for not saying so, for not putting this piece on the editorial page, or better yet, for not demanding payment for running it, and labeling it as the political advertisement it is.

American Fork, UT

The concept of freedom obviously has a different meaning to the authors of the study than it does to me. Utah's only redeeming value seems to be that all the tightfisted personal restrictions that seek to prevent us from being adults for ourselves simply encourage us to flaunt and ignore them, in a way creating the freedom for ourselves that the government doesn't want us to have.

North, UT


I have found that in this free country if you don't like the state you live in then you are free to move to another state. If you find that there is only one "redeeming value" in a particular state...why would you stay? Out of curiosity what state will you choose?

Normal Guy
Salt Lake City, UT

Fellow posters,

We need to get a hold of someone at the highest level of government quick and find out why you are held here in the despicable state of Utah against your will. We are with you!

Fellow Utahn.

Springville, UT

Silly study.

Did this take into account the ridiculous liquor laws in Utah? (and I don't even drink).

Springville, UT

I'm happy to live in Utah and I'm even happier to know that a higher % of libs live in NY and California than Utah.

Is there some correlation to the debt to libs ratios in these states AND gun laws?

Eugene, OR

Just when I think that the DN has reached a new low, you just keep on digging. This belongs on the Opinion page, and even such blatant propaganda such as this is pushing it.

Charlotte, NC

Debt is bondage. Who funded the study does not change the fact that those states that are out of control in their spending are the least free. NY is indeed a wreck. They are horribly managed and the people are burdened with excessively high taxes. A lot of people (and businesses are leaving) for that reason and I was one of them.

Oldy Glocks
Orem, UT

After painfully looking through about 15 of the states hoping to find mention of PERSONAL freedoms, I saw that personal freedoms as defined by that biased piece of fake journalism gave no concept of what I look for in freedom of individual rights.
It appears to be just another FUNDED piece of time wasting drivel, designed to alter the thinking of the masses.
A real survey can be accomplished within a few hours or days if it is done as a web based poll.

Is there no thought process left in the management level of print media?
I laugh when I consider the fact that my poor simple High School education from the years prior to the creation of the Department of Education, would weed out my application from qualifying to even empty waste baskets for the Deseret News.

Watching the decline of our nation for 78 years has caused me to recognize HOW the citizens have become severely hampered regarding a functional education and how much of a role the print and broadcast media has played in this sorry state of affairs.
The process of approving articles appears to need some serious revision.

Will this rant be approved?

Sandy, UT

Other than being able to buy a wine etc. at a grocery store, how exactly is Utah so oppressive? I realize that it is harder here to take other people's money, or to use the government to force you to do what I think is right. Apparently some people believe that it undermines their freedom if they cannot use the government to take what they haven't earned or to force people to do things they want done. I will accept a few regulations on alcohol to avoid being killed by a drunk driver because that enhances all of our freedom. I am just glad I do not live in a state where the majority of people think they have the right to take a disproportionate amont of my money because they chose not to work as hard and take the risks that usually accompany a high income, or to micromanage what I do on my property, etc.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"In our view, individuals should be allowed to dispose of their lives, liberties and property as they see fit, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others," the study FAQ said.

A very interesting quote.

Manti, UT

As it stated. "not infringe on the rights of others." Utah: You can still get your alcohol with some regulation. Yet you infringe on the rest of us with drunk driving and alcohol related violence. New York: Regulate the 16 oz. soft drink. Ummm, because people drive while under the influence of carbonated water?


The more willing the populace are to treat each other as directed by Christ with His Sermon on the Mount, then the more freedom they can have.

A populace that cannot control themselves by the above laws of God are doomed to progressively lose their freedoms to a police state.

Salt lake city, Utah

DNews you need to identify the source of crap like this from the Koch cartel. How terrible you give this stuff credibility as we cough the Koch polluted air. And we put up with unconstitutional legislation from cowboys and tea party Lee. Too bad this paper lost good journalists who would have exposed the real source of articles like this.

Lehi, UT

I always find it amusing to read the comments of individuals who LOVE to complain about living in Utah. They love to compare Utah against California (which is now bankrupt due to liberal thinking) and other places like New York (where you don't even have the freedom to buy a large Coke or Pepsi anymore). Look at what liberal thinking has done to these "awesome" states. But by all means, if you are not happy here, you have the freedom to leave. Go and join your liberal brothers and sisters in some other ruined state. Leave us backwards Utahns to our behind the times way of thinking. This thinking has led us to a top five in economy ranking, a top five in low unemployment ranking, top five in lowest violent crime, and the list goes on, so go ahead and leave if you are so unhappy in such a prosperous state. Bye Bye!

Pendleton, OR

Just looked up the Mercatus Center---it seems it is a piece of George Mason University. NOT the personal bailiwick of the Koch Brothers or Koch Industries. Seems that is a statement of unverified bias.

Sasha Pachev
Provo, UT

I lived in the Soviet Union. I did not like it. It was next to impossible to leave and I had nowhere to go. I found a way to leave and a place to go, it involved learning a foreign language and that place was Utah where I am happily living now. With that perspective, I have a hard time understanding how people can live in Utah, have nothing like the Soviet "propiska" that would constrain them to their current place of residence, dislike it, frequently and loudly complain, yet not look for and find what they believe to be a better place.

Layton, UT

Tea Party / Koch Cartels?

I never knew the Tea Party was into legalizing marijuana, and lowering taxes on cigarettes.

I still can't believe NY tried to ban sodas over 16oz. Talk about communism.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

@rnoble --Charles Koch is a member of the Mercatus Center's Board of Directors.
He is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Koch Industries, Inc.

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