By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A new report ranking the level of freedom in all 50 states showed that Wyoming is almost dead center when it comes to freedoms.
The Cato Institute recently published its annual “Freedom in the 50 States” report, which ranks states on the basis of how their policies promote freedom in the fiscal, regulatory, and personal realms.
Wyoming came in 26th because it ranked so low due to fiscal policy and personal freedom, but its ranking was “salvaged” by a top-five ranking when it comes to regulatory policy.
The freedoms ranged from land usage to alcohol sales to even cousin marriage (which is not allowed in Wyoming, it should be noted).
“Tobacco freedom is above average, as smoking bans admit some exceptions,” one portion of the report said. “Cigarettes can be purchased on the internet, and vaping is only locally banned in restaurants, bars, and workplaces. Retail raw milk sales were legalized in 2015. Cousin marriage is illegal, but blood tests and waiting periods are not required for marriage.”
The report looked at a number of variables, from health insurance, education, guns (which Wyoming was praised for its freedoms regarding) and much more.
The institute recommended that in order to become “more free,” the state should privatize hospitals and cut health spending to reduce government employment and consumption and allow sales taxes to be cut. According to the report, Wyoming spends “far more” on health and hospitals as a share of its economy than any other state.
Additionally, the institute recommended that employers buy workers’ compensation coverage from any willing seller and to consider privatizing the state fund. Finally, officials recommended the state should adopt individualism in education by adopting a “backpack funding” model, a type of educational funding where money is allocated to individual students rather than districts.
The Cato Institute is a public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C.