Colorado is the top state in the nation for occupational freedomit especially stands out on health professionals scope of practice. The court system is better than average, and there is no certificate-of-need (CON) law. The state has resisted somewhat the temptation of sin taxes, with moderate levies on beer, wine, spirits, and cigarettes. Colorado has decriminalized low-level marijuana possession (after the closing date of this study, a ballot initiative went further and legalized recreational marijuana cultivation, possession, and sale, within regulatory limits). Arrests for drug offenses, relative to state usage, are a standard deviation better (lower) than the national average, but the crime rateadjusted incarceration rate is nearly three-quarters of a standard deviation worse (higher) than the national average. On private school regulation, the state has a light touch but falls short with its fairly detailed curriculum requirements. Its home school laws are only about average, with recordkeeping requirements particularly onerous. Policy Recommendations Reduce government spending on parks (a category that excludes conservation lands), where the state spends more than twice the national average. Allow TABOR (the Taxpayers Bill of Rights), as amended, to take full effect once more. Allow full competition in telecom and cable services, and enact statewide video franchising. Reform the sentencing of nonviolent offenders to reduce the incarceration rate to what would be expected given the states crime rate.
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