New report ranks Minnesota 38th among US states for level of freedom

According to Cato, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C., Minnesota ranked 38th among the 50 states for its level of personal and economic freedom for 2019.

This should not be too surprising. Minnesota has ranked quite unfavorably in a number of studies analyzing economic freedom. The Frasier Institute, for example, ranked Minnesota 40th among U.S. states for its level of economic freedom in 2018 in their 2020 Economic Freedom of North America report.

According to the major indicators studied in the new report, Minnesota performs worst on economic freedom, which includes both fiscal and regulatory measures. Minnesota ranked 39th on this measure, a low rank driven by our high taxes and high levels of spending.

Other sections where Minnesota ranked particularly low included:

  • land-use (36), which includes eminent domain reform and land-use regulations.
  • labor market (30), which includes right-to-work laws, disability insurance requirements, and workers’ compensation.
  • alcohol (33), which includes restrictions on distribution, taxes, blue laws, keg registrations, and “happy hour” bans.
  • tobacco (38), which includes taxes on tobacco, smoking bans, Internet bans, and vending machine regulations.
  • cable (34), which includes telecommunications deregulation and cable franchising.


When it comes to fiscal policy, Cato’s report suggests trimming spending on welfare and other government expenditures like unemployment compensation and parking lots, as well as parks and recreation. The report also suggests allowing more freedom in the alcohol industry by allowing beer, wine, and spirits in grocery stores.

These are all reforms American Experiment has continuously advocated for. If anything, this report is just more evidence that legislators have a long way to go when it comes to improving economic freedom.