Sunday, June 12, 2011

Iowa In Top 15 Freest States

Ever wonder how Iowa stacks up against other states in the area of freedom?  Pretty well according to a recent study by Mercatus Center at George Mason University.  Iowa came in 13th in this study that "comprehensively ranks the American states on their public policies that affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres."  Iowa ranked 7th and 30th in the economic and personal freedom subcategories respectively.

According to the study, Iowa "particularly stands out on economic regulation. Iowa also has a light touch on land-use planning. Labor regulations are business friendly, with right-to-work laws [..] and a decent workers’-compensation regime." 

Iowa appears to be more of a mixed bag when it comes to government paternalism.  Private schools and homeschooling are over regulated while marijuana sentencing and asset forfeiture laws need reformed.  However, much gambling is allowed and most  PAC political contributions are unregulated.  The same-sex marriage ruling occurred after the period studied in the report (as did Iowa's new right-to-carry firearms law).

The study makes the following policy recommendations for Iowa:

"1.Improve the environment for personal freedom by cutting sin taxes and reforming marijuana sentencing guidelines.

"2.End private-school teacher licensing. Reduce standardized testing and notification requirements for homeschoolers.

"3.Reform asset forfeiture by placing the burden of proof on the government and redirecting proceeds to the general fund."

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