State Budget Should Consider Pa. Freedom Index

State Budget Should Consider Pa. Freedom Index

Commonwealth Ranks Mediocre 21st in Economic Freedom 

December 16, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Pennsylvania may be home to the cradle of liberty, but it ranks just 21st among U.S. states in economic freedom. This according to the Economic Freedom of North America 2015 report, released yesterday by the Fraser Institute.

The report evaluates states in three areas: government spending, taxes, and labor market freedom. While Pennsylvania improved from last year’s report, when the commonwealth ranked 27th, it still placed behind states like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maryland.

“The clear message is that the policies coming out of Harrisburg impact the freedom of every Pennsylvanian,” stated Elizabeth Stelle, director of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation. “Excessive government spending, high tax burdens, and overregulation ultimately take more from the pockets of Pennsylvania families.” 

The report notes that in the most-free states, the average per capita income was approximately 7 percent above the national average, while in the least-free states, it was about 8 percent below the average.

“With Pennsylvania earning only a mediocre freedom rating, now is certainly not the time to hike taxes or dramatically increase government spending,” Stelle added. “As Gov. Wolf and lawmakers continue negotiating a state budget, they should focus on policies that expand freedom and opportunity for Pennsylvanians—not burden them with higher tax bills.”

Elizabeth Stelle and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at [email protected] or 862-703-6670 to schedule an interview.

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The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.