Where Does Freedom Reign?

The John Locke Foundation, a North Carolinian think tank, created an index to rate the freedom of individual states. Montana is no standout; it ranked in the middle of the pact at 29th most free.
The ratings were determined by giving 50% weight to fiscal policy (a measure of taxation and budget policy), 20% to educational policy, 20% to regulatory policy, and 10% to health care policy:
* The most free states in order from most free to 5th most free are: Florida, Arizona, Indiana, South Dakota, and Georgia.
* The least free states in order from worst to 5th worse are: New York, New Jersey, California, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
* The most fiscally free states are: South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.
* The most educationally free states are: Florida, Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, and Louisiana.
* The states most free from regulation are: Iowa, Georgia, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Vermont.
* The states most free in health-care choice are: Idaho, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and Indiana.

“Moratorium on federal coal would be a catastrophe.”

In reaction to President Obama’s newest attempt to kill coal production in the United States, the Montana Coal Council, Montana Chamber of Commerce, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 11, and the Montana Policy Institute issued the following statements:

Read more: “Moratorium on federal coal would be a catastrophe.”

Regulations Runamuck

(Editor’s note: Watchdog.org has been featuring a series of articles on the “nanny state.” They have named Missouri as Nanny State of the Year, after reporting on Pagedale, MO. Pagedale demonstrates the run-amuck potential of regulations because of the legal premise upon which they are based. But, Pagedale actually isn’t all that extreme, there have been Montana cities that have tried to dictate the color homeowners can paint their homes or have refused to allow improvements in order to manipulate them to sell. Promulgated by unelected bureaucrats and capriciously enforced, usually, to advance personal political agendas, regulations are incentivized by revenues from arbitrary fines, justifying bureaucratic jobs, or by coerced “contributions” of private property, public rights of way, or the outright confiscations of cash by local or state governments. Regulations are preventive law that punishes innocent people, in direct contrast to criminal laws which require that a crime actually be committed before punishments are imposed. Preventive laws are a creation of bureaucracy as a means of circumventing democratic process. Always claiming that they are to protect “health and safety,” they are profoundly unjust and have no place in a free society.)
By Eric Boehm
Missouri Watchdog.org
In a suburb near St. Louis, Pagedale, residents have been ticketed and fined by the town’s police force for violations that don’t even begin to make rational sense.
One resident, Valerie Whitner, has been fined for having chipped paint on the outside of her home and for not attaching a screen door to her back door. She’s been told by city officials she must replace her rain gutters, her siding and put up storm windows. They also told her to mend her fence, cut her lawn and seal up cracks in her home’s foundation.

Read more: Regulations Runamuck

Negative Impacts of Obama’s Coal Lease Moratorium are Imminent

Obama’s Department of Interior recently announced a moratorium on federal coal leases, and few states will be hit harder than Montana. Not only is our state home to over one-third of all coal reserves in the United States, but about half of the coal production in our state happens on federal land. Halting all future leases means that much of this coal is untouchable.
Montana has already lost hundreds of jobs as a direct result of the federal actions aimed at stopping coal mining. We stand to lose thousands more in the coming years unless those policies are reversed.

Read more: Negative Impacts of Obama’s Coal Lease Moratorium are Imminent

Business Tip - Answer the Phone!

Almost three-fifths of consumers in America’s West will never buy from a company again if their first phone call is not handled satisfactorily, research has revealed.
The survey of 2,234 Americans, conducted by audio branding specialist PH Media Group, discovered 61 per cent of customers in the West are unwilling to tolerate poor call handling standards from businesses.

Read more: Business Tip - Answer the Phone!

Medical School: Replace Fears with Facts

Over the past decade in the legislature I have become keenly aware of Montana’s physician shortage. Our legislature has addressed this to the extent possible. In 2007, Senator Black and I passed legislation incentivizing doctors to practice rural medicine. In 2013 we expanded the Montana medical student slots to the max available from the University of Washington School of Medicine (WWAMI). While helpful, these steps fall short in context of the magnitude of our shortage, and particularly with regard to primary care. It is my opinion that our shortage can only be fully addressed by establishing a Montana Medical School.

Read more: Medical School: Replace Fears with Facts

Montana’s Climate for Entrepreneurs, Little Improved

Is your state’s policy environment friendly to entrepreneurs and small business?
Montana ranks 31st among the 50 states in terms of its policy climate for entrepreneurship and small business growth, according to the SBE Council’s 20th edition of the “Small Business Policy Index 2016: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth.”

Read more: Montana’s Climate for Entrepreneurs, Little Improved

Plan Will Increase Rates

Those who view the EPA as a planet-saving benevolent dictator will apparently go to any lengths to “prove” their point.

An astounding article by former PSC Chairman Greg Jergeson, recently asserted that the EPA’s massive new regulations on power plant CO2 emissions won’t increase energy costs to Montana consumers. It makes you wonder what kind of mushrooms he’s been eating on his hamburgers lately.

Read more: Plan Will Increase Rates

Rolling over to DC Bureaucrats Hurts Montana

Does ignoring reality ever turn out for the best? When it comes to energy policy in Montana, Governor Bullock sure seems to think so.
The state of Montana is set to take a devastating hit if the Obama Administration’s latest attempt to destroy the coal industry, known as the Clean Power Plan, survives legal challenges. It will force a costly and unwarranted change to our nation’s economy, imposing billions in compliance costs on consumers across the country, and result in the near certain destruction of the coal industry in our state. Unfortunately, Governor Bullock appears content with simply rolling over to the pressure of beltway politics, while allowing thousands of Montanans to bear the heavy burden of this irresponsible, Washington, DC regulatory scheme.

Read more: Rolling over to DC Bureaucrats Hurts Montana

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