The Empire State ranked 50th in George Mason University's biannual "Freedom in the States" rankings. "New York has by far the highest taxes in the country," the study reads, citing steep levies on property, income and corporations compared to other states.
The high taxes, in turn, fuel massive spending, according to the analysis by George Mason's Mercatus Center, a libertarian think tank. "Spending on public welfare, hospitals, electric power, transit, employee retirement . . . are well above national norms," concludes the report, which covers the 2007-through-2009 period.
Ranking worst in the categories of economic freedom and fiscal policy, New York also landed near the bottom for the categories of personal freedom (48th) and regulatory policy (40th).
The study cites New York's restrictive gun-control and anti-smoking laws and sky-high cigarette taxes and the Big Apple's ban on trans fats.