New York is among the nation’s lowest ranking states when it comes to economic freedom, according to a report that focuses on the United States and 10 Canadian provinces.

The Economic Freedom of North America 2006 Annual Report — by the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis and the Fraser Institute of Canada — considers such factors as the tax burden, the size of government and the flexibility of a state’s labor market.

In measuring the restrictions on New York’s economic freedom imposed by all levels of government including federal, state and local, the state ranks 39th, according to the report. However, the state drops to 50th when the economic restrictions of only the state and local governments are considered.

Taxes deserve much of the blame for the Empire State’s low ranking, according to the report. The size of New York’s government and its high percentage of public and union workers also are cited as factors in its low marks.

“During a statewide election campaign that has been focusing on economic issues, this annual index highlights the strong links between prosperity and economic freedom,” said E.J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy. “Our low level of freedom helps explain why New York has not enjoyed higher levels of growth.”

The Empire Center is a non-partisan, independent think-tank.


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