The "Free State" isn't so free anymore

CatonsvilleMartin O'Malley

Maryland has long cherished its nickname of "The Free State." However, based on a recent ranking by the Mercatus Center at Virginia's George Mason University, Maryland is actually near the bottom of states nationally — 44th out of 50 — in overall freedom.

The center's report, "Freedom in the 50 States," provides an aggregate index of how the states' public policies impact economic, social and personal freedoms. Overall personal freedom in Maryland ranks just above that of Illinois.

While it is hard to get worse when you're already near the bottom, that is exactly what has happened with Gov. Martin O'Malley at the helm of state government.

A further discouraging statistic cited in the report is that Maryland is experiencing a net negative migration rate, meaning more people are leaving the state than becoming residents here. That does not bode well for economic expansion.

Anyone want to suggest a new nickname?

Michael Vance Ernest Sr., Catonsville

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      I have looked over that Mercatus Center report on freedom in the 50 states ("The 'Free State' isn't so free anymore," April 3). I suspect that the majority of Marylanders would rather live in any of 17 or so of the 20 "least free" states than in any of most of the top 20 "most free" states.

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      A recent letter to The Sun reported that the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranked Maryland near the bottom in overall freedom and cited a statistic that the state has lost population ("The 'Free State' isn't so free anymore," April 3).