Recently, the Cato Institute released their yearly index for personal liberty and economic freedom in the fifty states. Sadly, Mississippi ranked at an underwhelming #40.
“Mississippi is a typical Deep South state in that its economic freedom far outstrips its personal freedom. But the state’s worst dimension is actually fiscal policy,” wrote Cato. The think tank continued, saying Mississippi’s overall tax burden is a bit above average at 10%. Debt is much lower than average, too, but government employment and GDP share are far higher than average – State and local employment is 16.2% of private-sector employment.
Personal liberty in the Magnolia state is described as sub-par, with it imprisoning its population at a rate of 1.5 standard deviations above average and allowing hardly any school freedom. On the economic freedom side, Mississippi’s monopolization of alcohol sales, the lack of statewide cable franchising, strict regulation of health insurance, and certificate of need (CON) laws don’t make things any better.
With it being the end of the year, folks normally begin to create their new year’s resolutions to better themselves, whether that be by learning a new skill or hobby, exercising more, or spending less and saving more. Mississippi should look at its horrendous ranking and aim to better itself in 2022.
The Mississippi Center for Public Policy is looking forward to the new year as we take on many of the challenges laid out in the Cato report, including expanding school freedom through open enrollment and creating multiple charter school authorizing boards, repealing the awful CON laws that plague our healthcare industry, and abolishing the income tax. We believe that doing these things will, of course, make Mississippi freer. It will also, though, ultimately make Mississippi more prosperous and a happier place to live, work, and raise a family.
We talk more about this in our 2022 Freedom Agenda, which you may read HERE.