By Michael Kleen
For trampling on the liberty of its citizens, Illinois has won the unfortunate distinction of being among the worst states in the nation according to a new study by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “Freedom in the 50 States” ranked Illinois 41st in regards to the overall personal and financial freedom its citizens enjoy. The Center rated states in four areas: fiscal policy, regulatory policy, economic freedom, and personal freedom. Illinois ranked 26th in fiscal freedom, 27th in regulatory freedom, 29th in economic freedom, and 49th in personal freedom. For those of us concerned about individual liberty, this does not bode well.
The Mercatus study measured dozens of variables and looked at more than 150 distinct public policies, including social and personal freedoms such as the right to educate your children, to own and carry firearms, and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizure. New Hampshire and South Dakota were found to have the highest amount of overall freedom for their citizens, while New York ranked dead last. That means, in the past several years, Illinois has moved away from the libertarian policies of states like New Hampshire and toward the big-government policies of states like New York, New Jersey, and California.