On Wednesday the Mercatus Center at George Mason University announced the publication of an interactive map which gives each state a personal and economic freedom ranking as of 2011. The #1 ranking puts a state at the top as the most free, and that spot was earned by North Dakota. Not surprisingly, the states with the highest numbers, i.e. least free, are California at #49 and New York at #50.
Texas ranked #14 this time. That's worse than than the #8 spot it held in 2009 but better than the #17 spot it earned in 2007. High local debt was an impediment. Here are the first two paragraphs of their Texas analysis.
Texas prides itself on being a freedom-loving state, and at 14th in rank its citizens have something to be proud of. However, its policies are sometimes not as consistent with individual liberty as the rhetoric of its officials and citizens would suggest. Like many southern states, Texas performs better on economic freedom than personal freedom. Yet despite its reputation as a low-regulation state, it is only average for regulatory policy—while it is above average for fiscal policy.
exas enjoys one of the lowest tax burdens in the country. It also does better than average on state spending, fiscal decentralization, and government employment relative to the private sector. However, state and local debt is high (with most of the problem arising at the local level).
Emphasis added. Texas residents have certainly seen the local debts rising. Good economic times cause a fever that induces amnesia about the bad times.