Economic Freedom in Vermont

November 18, 2019

by John McClaughry

Our friends at New Hampshire’s Josiah Bartlett Center are applauding their state for being rated the most economically free state in the union, by the independent Fraser Institute in British Columbia, which has done the rankings for twenty years. Their Economic Freedom of North America report measures government spending, taxation and labor market restrictions using data from 2017, the most recent year of available data.

New Hampshire scored 7.93 out of 10 in this year’s report, well above its New England neighbors and far above lowest-ranked New York (4.49), which placed last for the fifth year in a row. Rounding out the top five freest states are Florida (2nd), Tennessee (3rd), Virginia (4th) and Texas (5th).

Of New Hampshire’s New England competitors, Connecticut ranked 13th, Massachusetts 17th, Maine 36th, Rhode Island 38th, and …Vermont 47th. The only states below Vermont were Alaska, West Virginia, and in the cellar, New York.

The Bartlett Center explained that low taxes and limited government generate freedom and prosperity. Fred McMahon, the report co-author and the Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute, said: “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.”

How wonderful it would be if a majority of our political class spent as much effort on making Vermont economically free and prosperous, as they have trying to defeat the Menace of Climate Change.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

charlie blish November 18, 2019 at 9:07 pm

right Rob NH run by republicans so far any state run by DEMS are bankrup


Robert November 19, 2019 at 1:21 am

Here we have the results of the internal colonization of Vermont by people who believe that forfeiting their liberties to deceitful politicians promising to make everyone equal is the path to happiness. There is no bigger fool anywhere than the “progressive” Vermont voter who is bringing economic misery on everyone here.


KJ Rhodes November 19, 2019 at 1:17 pm

Term limits are necessary. Politicians have way too much influence and ability to control our personal l lives in every aspect of our liberty and freedom. This madness has to stop. They call it “democracy” but in a devious way we are having our rights and lives destroyed by the progressive liberal mindset of what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. Our founding leaders would be disappointed in what is happening to those of us who have worked hard all our lives to help our country and our families.


Chet Greenwood November 23, 2019 at 10:58 am

A lot of New Hampshire’s success is a direct result of Vermont’s legislature. Every time we raise fees and/or taxes Vermonters go to NH to shop. You only have to look at Lebanon vs White River and Littleton vs St Johnsbury.


dave November 23, 2019 at 1:17 pm

Not sure ” freedom ” is the right word , more like economic incarceration


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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