[Ed. – I really don’t think California (ranked #48 by CATO) is that far behind. If at all. Neck and neck, let’s say. And yes, if the ranking is for “least free states,” then technically, New York should be #1 and California should be #3. Presenting this in the terms used by CATO. You know what it means.]
New York has been the least free state in the country for a long time. Economic freedom is the most significant weakness, but the state has not kept up with the rest of the country on personal freedom either.
The only fiscal policy area where New York is not below average is the ratio of government to private employment, where the state has actually improved significantly since the early 2000s. The government GDP ratio has scarcely fallen over that same time period, suggesting that New York pairs relatively low government employment with high salaries and benefits for public employees. New York’s local tax burden is twice that of the average state: 8.5 percent of income in FY 2015. … Debt is the highest in the country at 31.2 percent of income, and liquid assets are less than half that, at 14.2 percent of income.
New York is also the worst state on regulatory policy, although here it is at least within striking distance of number 49.