California and New York Ranked Last for Economic Opportunity: News Releases: The Independent Institute

The Power of Independent Thinking


Stay Connected
Get the latest updates straight to your inbox.

News Release
December 15, 2015

California and New York Ranked Last for Economic Opportunity

OAKLAND, CA—California is losing employers and jobs to other states due to its abysmal business climate. Except for New York, nowhere else in the United States has a worse combination of government spending, taxation, and labor-market restrictions, according to the Economic Freedom of North America: 2015 Annual Report, a new report from the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, in partnership with the Oakland-based Independent Institute.

“California’s dismal level of economic freedom explains why more than 9,000 California companies have either fled the Golden State or decided to expand operations elsewhere during the past 7 years,” said Dr. Lawrence J. McQuillan, Senior Fellow and Director of the Independent Institute’s Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation. “The California Dream is disappearing for too many people who have decided to pack up and pursue their passions in other states because of oppressive California taxes, regulations, and lawsuit abuse.”

While California and New York have the least economic freedom in the nation, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee have the most, according to the report. The report’s rankings are of tremendous use to members of the public and the policy community who seek a better business climate for their state, especially as election season approaches.

“Years of government overreach have robbed California of its reputation as a land of economic opportunity,” said David J. Theroux, Founder and President of the Independent Institute. “Fortunately, the Economic Freedom of North America: 2015 Annual Report provides a sound benchmark to show which states are doing a better job for workers and businesses. Its vital findings warrant close attention from policymakers in Sacramento and other state capitals, as well as from the news media and the public.”

Economic Freedom of North America: 2015 Annual Report is an offshoot of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Index, the result of more than a quarter century of work by more than 60 scholars, including three Nobel laureates. See the complete study at

The Independent Institute is a non-profit, research and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. For more information visit

  • Catalyst