Study ranks New Mexico last in US for economic freedom

LAND OF THE NOT-SO-FREE: A study of states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada shows New Mexico is among the "least free" economic sectors in North America.

LAND OF THE NOT-SO-FREE: A study of states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada shows New Mexico is among the “least free” economic sectors in North America.

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE, N.M. — It’s a new year but, as is often the case, New Mexico ranks pretty low in yet another survey.

In fact, New Mexico finished dead last among all 50 states in a study of economic freedom, and when provinces in Canada are factored in, only Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island finish below the Land of Enchantment.

The survey, titled “Economic Freedom of North America,” is an annual report produced by the Fraser Institute, a free-market think tank based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Economic freedom is a powerful driver of growth and prosperity,” the study’s co-authors wrote after measuring a series of factors that included the size of government, taxes and the number of government regulations. “Those provinces and states that have low levels of economic freedom continue to leave their citizens poorer than they need or should be.”

Here are the rankings, with New Mexico coming in 58th:

fraser institute rankings

New Mexico’s weakest performance in the study came in spending by government as a percentage of GDP, where it finished in last place among U.S. states.

It also fared badly in overall size of government, which probably reflects New Mexico’s reliance on dollars from the federal government. Policy makers in the state have discussed concerns about the vulnerability of New Mexico’s economy to sequesters and shutdowns coming from Washington. D.C.

On a macro level, the survey came out with a rather surprising finding: according to Fraser Institute researchers, the level of economic freedom in Canada has surpassed the United States.

“Unfortunately, this does not mean that Canadian provinces are gaining in economic freedom, but rather that their economic freedom is declining more slowly than in the U.S. states,” the survey said.

In fact, four of the top seven finishers in the survey were from “The Great White North,” with Alberta, the hotbed for Canada’s energy industries, finishing in first place. Delaware, Texas and Nevada came out on top among U.S. states.

Click here to read the entire 92-page report.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at rnikolewski@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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