The Mercatus Center of George Mason University has released a report studying the level of freedom in the United States. They rank each state based on economic, social, and personal Freedom. Unsurprisingly NJ ranked at the bottom.

New Jersey is a highly regulated state all around, #46 on economic freedom, #45 on personal freedom, and #49 overall. Taxes and spending are high. Spending on education is particularly high. Property taxes are among the highest in the country, and individual income taxes are also high. Gun control is extensive. Marijuana laws are subpar. New Jersey has primary seat-belt enforcement, motorcycle and bicycle helmet laws, a cell phone driving ban, an open-container law, sobriety checkpoints, and mandatory liability and personal injury coverage for automobiles. Fireworks are prohibited. Asset forfeiture is largely unreformed. Cigarette taxes are stratospheric, and smoking bans are as draconian as any in the country. On the positive side, alcohol is taxed fairly reasonably, and, like Nevada, casino and slots gambling are legal statewide. More importantly, private and home school regulations are surprisingly light, extending only to broad curriculum requirements. Civil unions are also recognized. On economic regulation, labor laws are predictably costly, statewide land-use planning (“smart growth”) is in force, and there is extensive community rating for private health insurance. On other issues, however, New Jersey is about average.

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