Indiana has quietly built a record as one of America’s freest states and the freest state in the Great Lakes region. Although it has still experienced small net outmigration to the rest of the country over the past 15 years, its record in that department has been better than that of any other of the eight Great Lakes states, and its economic growth has been better than the national average since 2006. Although Indiana’s fiscal policy deteriorated quite a bit between FY 2000 and FY 2009, it has made a good recovery since then. Local taxes have fallen over time, as have government debt and subsidies.
Where Indiana suffers is its health regulations. While the state has been working to improve the effects of the Affordable Care Act on its insurance network, there are still many short comings given its formerly free-market approach. Beyond that, regulations on nursing are more extreme here than most states, with independent nurse practitioners being unable to provide prescriptions and dentists unable to open private practices. There are several personal freedoms denied to residents as well. Smoking bans have not gone quite as far as in other states, but cannabis freedom is virtually nonexistent, and alcohol freedom is only a bit better than the national average, as the state bans offsite, direct-to-consumer wine shipments and off-premises Sunday sales.