Two studies released this year by separate free-market think tanks paint Tennessee state government as among the most fiscally restrained and constitutionally prudent in the country.
Forty-eight out of 50 states offer better legal environments for securing the principles of limited government under their state constitutions than can be found in federal court under the U.S. Constitution,” write the authors of the Goldwater Institute’s “50 Bright Stars: An Assessment of Each State’s Constitutional Commitment to .Limited Government.”
“Nevertheless, Arizona Alabama, Tennessee and Idaho are in a class by themselves.”
And a nationwide analysis by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center scorecarding state-level government deference toward for personal and economic liberty ranked Tennessee among the Top 10 in key policy areas.
In addition to high marks for government fiscal restraint and comprehensive freedom, the the Virginia-based group’s paper, published last Feb 26, puts the Volunteer State at No. 8 in “economic freedom.”
The Mercatus authors — Texas State University professor William Ruger and State University of New York assistant professor Jason Sorens, both political science specialists – say their “Freedom in the 50 States” study is “the first-ever comprehensive ranking of the American states on their public policies affecting individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres.”
The No. 1 state in the country in overall freedom, according to the authors, is New Hampshire. Bringing up the rear is New York.
Of Tennessee’s eight neighboring states, only Missouri ranked higher in overall freedom at No. 6.
Tennessee didn’t however fare nearly as well in “regulatory policy” or “personal freedom” in the Mercatus study, ranking No. 28 and No. 18 in those categories respectively.
The Goldwater Institutes study says it uses “the U.S. Constitution and federal court system as a baseline, this report assesses each state’s constitutional jurisprudence for its commitment to limited government.”
“Taking into consideration the findings of a recent Mercatus Center study of economic freedom among the 50 states, which serves as a proxy for the freedom friendliness of each state’s political culture, this report reveals that principles of limited government are most secure under the constitutions of Arizona, Alabama, Idaho and Tennessee,” writes the institute’s Center for Constitutional Government director, Nick Dranias.