Louisiana

Louisiana

  • Most Free
  • Least Free

Freedom Rankings

  • #35 Overall
  • #36 Economic
  • #32 Personal

Stats Breakdown

Change in overall freedom, 2007–2009:
0.058
Change in overall freedom ranking since 2007:
+4
Net domestic migration, 2000–2009 (% of 2000 population):
–7.1%
Governor, 2011:
Bobby Jindal (R)
Legislature, 2011:
House 51R/50D/4I, Senate 16R/22D/1I

Analysis

Louisiana is the least free former Confederate state—and one of the only ones to lose residents to other states this decade—but has been improving overall. Sales taxes are high, and government spending has increased dramatically in a short period (3.3 percent of personal income). Government employment is high. Gun laws are very good, and alcohol laws are also liberal, but the marijuana sentencing regime is subpar, with the maximum sentence for a single offense being 80 years and even low-level cultivation a felony. While the state allows many forms of gambling, it has enacted a prohibition on Internet gambling and unauthorized gaming is a felony (the politics of this combination of policies is clear). Private schools are heavily regulated, with teacher licensing and mandatory registration. However, the homeschooling laws are much better. Health-insurance coverage mandates add 48 percent to the cost of private plans, up from 43 percent just two years prior. The state has gone a long way to reform eminent domain. The liability system is among the very worst in the country. The state has improved a great deal in its arrest rates for victimless crimes, including drugs, but still is more draconian than average.

Policy Recommendations

  1. End partisan judicial elections in order to improve the court system.
  2. Freeze government hiring and use the proceeds to cut the general sales tax.
  3. Eliminate private-school regulations.
State Freedom Calculator

You know how free your state is today, but how free could it be in the future? Here are four policies from each area of the index--fiscal, regulatory, and paternalist--that allow you to play policy maker. Select from the options below and observe as your state's rankings in economic, personal, and overall freedom will be recalculated in real time and your state's ranking will rise or fall depending on your choices.

Fiscal Policies
Actual Value: 10.2%
Actual Value: 19.8%
Actual Value: 28.6%
Actual Value: 0.151
Regulatory Policies
Actual Value: 0.0
Actual Value: 48.10%
Actual Value: 27.83%
Actual Value: 3.75
Paternalist Policies
Actual Value: -1.95
Actual Value: 0
Actual Value: $0.36
Actual Value: 0
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