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Ohio ranks below average in economic freedom

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(The Center Square) – Ohio improved, but its economic freedom continued to rank near the bottom of states, according to a new report.

According to a new report released Wednesday by Columbus-based policy group The Buckeye Institute, The Economic Freedom of North America 2023 report ranked Ohio 33rd. That’s two spots better than a year ago.

“In 2023, Ohio ranked a mediocre 33 among the 50 states, marking a minor improvement over the state’s ranking of 35 in 2022,” said Zachary D. Cady, associate economist with the Economic Research Center and The Buckeye Institute. “Recent tax reforms and regulatory rollbacks should improve the state’s future rankings, but to be more competitive, Ohio must rein in its government spending and continue making sound tax and regulatory reforms.”

The Buckeye Institute teamed with Canada’s Fraser Institute to rank each state and province in North America based on economic freedom – measured by government spending, taxation and labor-market freedom.

The groups changed the methodology to include regulations.

The rankings are based on 2021 data, which was the last year complete information was available, according to The Buckeye Institute.

Despite its highest index score in history, Ohio ranked 41st in government spending, 21st in taxes and 27th in labor market freedoms.

“Although the state’s relatively competitive tax environment ranks above average and its regulatory environment ranks just below average, Ohio’s extravagant government spending – especially its insurance and retirement payments – drag it down,” Cady said in the report.

Neighboring Indiana (19th), Pennsylvania (18th) and Michigan (31st) all ranked higher.

Kentucky (34th) and West Virginia (40th) ranked lower than Ohio.

New Hampshire ranked with the highest economic freedoms, followed by Florida, Tennessee, Texas and South Dakota.

New York had the lowest ranking, followed by Vermont, California, Oregon and Hawaii.

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