Free State Project Forum

Archive => Which State? => Topic started by: Dex Sinister on July 31, 2002, 10:04:04 pm

Title: State "Freedom Indices"
Post by: Dex Sinister on July 31, 2002, 10:04:04 pm

Educational Freedom Index:

A 1999 ANALYSIS John Byars Robert McCormick Bruce Yandle March 1, 1999
(link seems to be down)

Anybody have more?

Dex }:>=-
Title: Re:State "Freedom Indices"
Post by: craft_6 on September 24, 2002, 09:45:17 am
The FSP ought to develop its own freedom indices, both as a way to compare the candidate states, and to measure progress once the state is selected and people move there.  It would allow the FSP to point to real progress during the long march toward a free society.  I would suggest a matrix of the ten most important policy areas (whatever the FSP leadership and membership deem those to be), indexed from 1 to 10 in increasing degrees of freedom with objective criteria.

Some of the categories might be overall taxation level, land-use regulation, education policy, drug policy, etc.  An example of the criteria indexing for education policy might be 1=complete state control, no vouchers, no homeschooling, 2=parent choice in public schools/charter schools, and so on up to 10=complete free market in education.
Title: Re:State "Freedom Indices"
Post by: JasonPSorens on September 24, 2002, 11:01:30 am
Yeah, the EFI's already up on the State Data page, but I didn't include it in the spreadsheet since it's a little dated now.  However, it is a variable in the Javascript weighting.
Title: Re:State "Freedom Indices"
Post by: Kelton on October 28, 2002, 05:03:54 am
Another measure of a state’s freedom index may be its accessibility of the courts for its citizens. Not necessarily the Americans with Disabilities Act– rather, how accessible the courts are to each citizen “for redress of grievances”.  This is actually very hard to quantify, since there are so many procedures and requirements that not only differ from state to state but from each local jurisdiction.
   One measure that I have some experience with, in a few different states, is that of debt collection in the small claims courts.  In my opinion, those states that put up the most barriers to collection on property that belongs to you also tend to respect your general property rights less, California being a  prime example of this interesting relationship.
   Similarly, unnecessarily small limits and burdensome rules in the courts may show the degree to which state legislatures are beholden to trial attorneys and their craft who like the small claims courts, but only if they keep their jurisdiction out of the more profitable cases. This keeps the very small cases out of their offices while sometimes requiring a lawyer for even the most simple, clear-cut cases only because of the dollar amount.
   In descending order of small claims court limits (larger being better):
1 DE $15000
2 SD   8000
3 AK   7500
4 NH   5000
5 ND   5000
6 ME   4500
7 ID     4000
8 WY   3000 -(Small Claims Court); $7,000(County Circuit Court)
9 VT    3500
10 MT   3000
   This comes from various sources on the internet, including
I also researched each and every state above and found none to have excessive filing fees, ranging from $10-50. It also appears that none have excessive requirements for process server fees and most, if not all, allowed private individuals for that.  Delaware ranked among the highest in the country after Tennessee, this may also be for  practicality, as almost every National bank and credit card company in the country is based out of Delaware since the courts there have traditionally been very bank- friendly, and the courts probably already have enough of a civil case load from them to not want the judges to spend any time on small fries.  
   In civil wage garnishment exemption laws, for which there is a federal statute, most states add to the federal law which seeks to protect the rights of people having their property seized, something which some have argued is akin to the constitutional duty the federal government has to create bankruptcy laws that prevent mischief against people from excesses at the hands of creditors. These laws balance the rights of the debtor to have enough to live on, while having their property seized, which in the name of fairness sometimes seems to go too far, for the creditor, balancing against the rights of the litigant who is the judgement creditor.  I have ranked each state according to how far the state law has added to the federal law, as I read it (subject to some debate).  in descending order, based on respect for rights of judgment creditor claiming the debt
 Â Â Â Â Â Â 1. WY, ID, MT (no additional state law to federal provision)
      2.  SD (limited 60 day period, then reverts to federal provision)
      3.  ND (almost like federal provision)
      4. AK (states exact dollar amount for clarity)
      5. ME
      6.  NH –excess paperwork barrier to issue ongoing garnishment
      7.  DE -almost impossible to collect on worker making less than ~$30,000/yr.
         8.  VT - the law is so liberal and vague, open to broad interpretation of what is a 'proper wage'  ~‘living wage?’.

Also at issue in civil garnishment laws is the rights of the employer, the bank, or other entity which must comply with the garnishment order on behalf of their employee, client, etc. which, uncompensated, may very well be another form of involuntary servitude!

   Trying to quantify and evaluate each state’s court system will prove quite subjective and take the talent of people much more skilled with the use of the courts.  There is also a wealth of information at (not up to date on the free web version) where one may further research this topic, state by state, on how each state treats statutes of limitations, judgement rates, bad check laws, collection agency license laws and such.
Title: Re:State "Freedom Indices"
Post by: Penfist on October 28, 2002, 12:26:01 pm
Good research in this thread. Lots of food for thought!