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The Buckeye Institute Releases Economic Freedom of North America 2017

Dec 19, 2017

Columbus, OH – Ohio ranks 35th out of all 50 states in this year’s Economic Freedom of North America report, released today by The Buckeye Institute in partnership with Canada’s Fraser Institute. The report ranks every state and province in North America based on economic freedom as measured by government spending, taxation, and labor market restrictions.

“The news is mixed for Ohio. The state has moved up a few spots this year, mostly due to Governor John Kasich’s tax reform efforts in 2015. Yet, overall Ohio still languishes in the bottom third of states and trails most of its neighbors,” wrote Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center and vice president of policy, in the report’s forward. “Given this ranking, it is not surprising that the state struggles to retain its workers and is not a destination for entrepreneurs seeking a new place to start a business.”

Using data from 2015, the most recent year available, Ohio ranks 35th among the 50 states in economic freedom with a score of 6.7. That is up three places from 2016 when Ohio was ranked 38th and five places from 2015 when the state was ranked 40th. Included in the report is Buckeye’s Ohio Economic Freedom Fact Sheet, which summarizes where Ohio ranks in various economic freedom policies and how it compares to neighboring states.

Ohio’s Ranking in Key Areas

Government Spending – 41st 

  • Consumption spending as a percent of personal income – 22nd
  • Transfers and subsidies as a percent of personal income – 23rd
  • Insurance and retirement payments as a percent of personal income – 47th

Taxes – 26th

  • Income and payroll tax revenue as a percent of personal income – 27th 
  • Top income tax threshold $208,500
  • Property tax and other tax revenue as a percent of personal income – 20th 
  • Sales tax revenue as a percent of personal income – 34th

Labor Market Freedom – 30th 

  • Minimum wage income as a percent of per capita personal income – 36th 
  • Government employees as a percent of total employees – 12th 
  • Union density as a percent of total employees – 35th

The Fraser Institute has measured economic freedom in every state and province in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for 13 years, creating a comprehensive assessment of trends in economic freedom. The Buckeye Institute and its Economic Research Center co-published the report for the third year in a row.

The Fraser Institute and The Buckeye Institute are independent think tanks that research and advocate for free-market economic policies. The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center specializes in data analysis of state-level economic policies.

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