New Mexico remains among “Least Free” US states in latest Index of Economic Freedom

The 2022 edition of the Canada-based Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of North America 2022 is out and for yet another year New Mexico remains at the very bottom among US states in terms of economic freedom. Economic freedom is the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions
about what to buy, where to work and whether to start a business.

Unsurprisingly, New Mexico performed particularly poorly in:

  • Government spending as a percent of personal income (49th);
  • Sales tax revenue as a percent of personal income (48th); and
  • Government employees as a percent of overall employees (49th).

New Mexico DID get high marks for having relatively low property taxes (7th).

“When governments allow markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced and how much is produced, citizens enjoy greater levels of economic freedom,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute and co-author of this year’s report, which measures government spending, taxation and labor market restrictions using data from 2020, the latest year of available comparable data. Florida was the top performing state in the index followed by New Hampshire. Rounding out the top five freest states are South Dakota (3rd), Texas and Tennessee (tied for 4th ).

The very worst performing states were New York at 50th followed by California.

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11 Replies to “New Mexico remains among “Least Free” US states in latest Index of Economic Freedom”

  1. Wow. No economic freedom in California which, if it were a nation, would have the fifth largest GDP? Economic freedom is code for giving Big Business the freedom to destroy our environment and push more people out of their homes and onto the streets. Next step: taking away Social Security and Medicare!

    1. What most people who complain about NM status is not understanding our diversity and wide open spaces. Those that come here from other parts if the country want to bring their values derived from overcrowding and isolated thinking. They have no new ideas and only look to blame. This Rio Grande Foundation must be run by outsiders.

      1. So, having the very worst education system in the nation is fine? Having some of the worst crime and other social outcomes is fine? Being utterly dependent on the federal government is fine? Seems like New Mexicans are willing to accept money and resources from other states even if they don’t move the needle on New Mexico’s social outcomes.

    2. If California is so great then you shouldn’t need social security. After all, you must be independently wealthy! Oh wait, 80% of the people in California rely on government handouts

      1. I was born and raised in California before moving to Texas. El Paso was far from vibrant then. I reloed here in ‘93, really enjoyed ABQ and NM then. Reloed to Dallas in ‘96. Couldn’t help but notice all the California companies and employees moving to the metroplex. Was very vibrant like California in my youth. Bought 2nd home here in 2000s, couldn’t help but detect the change here, I guess perspective changed along with NM socioeconomic circumstances. I went back to Cali this summer, Temecula area. Seemed to be doing well. Just back from San Antonio area, is booming there. Go to visit my dad in El Paso every few months, doing much better there now. Even has a couple of billionaires. I don’t think we even have one in this entire state. Maybe the oil guy in SE part of state? Have never lived in a place where the downtown skyline hasn’t changed in decades except for here. Speaks volumes to me.

    3. Lol, California built itself over decades as a welcoming, beautiful, open state and economy. In the last few decades they have implemented too many policies that are eating away at their economy and chasing productive people out of state. Having a big economy is pretty meaningless when people and businesses are leaving in droves.

  2. It always blows my mind when people defend the governance of New Mexico. 90 years of democrat control. Last place in damn near everything.

    1. Matt, they like it that way because they do not want their state to grow. The NM motto is “if you don’t like it, then leave,” and “if you complain then you are a traitor”. It doesn’t matter if it’s Republican or Democrat in charge. You are a bad apple if you complain.

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