78 Ways To Cut Red Tape
"Just two years in, the Red Tape Relief Initiative has prompted at least 78 separate legislative proposals from state agencies that we’ve identified which advance the initiative’s mandate, meaning massive Red Tape Relief is on the way for Montanans in 2023."
This week I am excited to announce a new bi-weekly column authored by Frontier Tech & Innovation Policy Analyst, Chris Isaacs. This new series will focus on how Montana can position itself as a national leader in innovation and entrepreneurship.
In this first column, Chris provides an overview of something we have been tracking since day one: Governor Gianforte’s Red Tape Relief Initiative. The Initiative has led a top-to-bottom review of the tens of thousands of regulations on Montana’s books and continues to identify regulations that are excessive, outdated and unnecessary.
Just two years in, the Red Tape Relief Initiative has prompted at least 78 separate legislative proposals from state agencies that we’ve identified which advance the initiative’s mandate, meaning massive Red Tape Relief is on the way for Montanans in 2023.
Chris highlights five proposals below:
“The State Auditor’s office is proposing the repeal of the Insurance Continuing Education Council. Repealing the council removes an unnecessary hurdle for approving the 24 continued education course credits required every two years to maintain an insurance agent license.”
“The DPHHS seeks to revise the Adult Protective Services laws (APS)… By finally modernizing Montana’s APS, we can ensure our elders can be protected from continued abuse, negligence and financial exploitation.”
Especially Burdensome Impact on Small Business
“As they currently stand beer, wine and spirits regulations require a lot of red tape relief… The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division proposes updating the tax collection procedure followed by other state departments and removing the burdensome penny tax for wine.”
“One outdated statute directs counties to pay administrative fees to a general fund for group homes… The proposal to remove this regulation will remove an unused mechanism of getting fees from counties.”
Remove Unnecessary Regulation
“The lodging facility use and sales tax are located in different chapters of Montana’s tax code, even though they relate to the same types of transactions… The proposal will streamline the return of in-state lodging tax payments by having all lodging-related taxes under one title and chapter.”
While this is just a sneak peek at the full list of proposed legislation, stay tuned as Chris will continue to provide coverage and analysis on these proposals.
Post Election Debrief
Election Day is over and with it came a litany of news. Here’s my biggest takeaways:
- Montana Republicans secured a supermajority, paving the way for potential constitutional reforms to be put before Montana voters.
- Voters in Missoula County rejected a proposal to increase property taxes via a mill levy, suggesting they have had enough reckless spending which fuels the need for higher property taxes.
- Montanans overwhelmingly voted to enshrine privacy protections for electronic data in our state constitution. This concept was proposed by Frontier Institute in our 2020 Montana Recovery Agenda as a way to secure Montanans’ right to privacy. We are the first state with this both in law and in our constitution.
Gov. Gianforte Announces New Budget
In a press conference today, Governor Gianforte announced a new state budget proposal. Along with holding spending growth below population growth plus inflation, the plan calls for a billion dollars of tax cuts for Montanans. Finally, he announced plans to hold local governments accountable for years reckless spending that has left Montanans to foot the bill for excessive spending.
Our Take: The tax cuts proposed today were made possible by the implementation of a conservative budget – something we proposed in our 2020 Montana Recovery Agenda. Montana has shown that by being fiscally responsible it is possible to provide meaningful tax cuts. If local governments are serious about providing tax relief then they must begin with a conservative budget.
Expanding Access To Affordable Child Care
Last Friday, Governor Gianforte proposed red tape relief to expand access to affordable child care. The focal point of this proposal is reforming child care licensing laws. These reforms include creating a license category for after school child care, permitting providers to develop pilot programs and clarifying provider obligations.
Our Take: As the last few years have shown, barriers to quality and affordable child care is a critical part of improving Montana’s innovation ecosystem. In a 2021 Harvard Business Review survey, nearly 20 percent of working parents had left the workforce due to lack of childcare. 26 percent of women became unemployed during COVID due to a lack of childcare. Improving access to childcare will empower Montanan’s entrepreneurial spirit. Increased access will allow parents to pursue career opportunities and business ideas seen too risky without affordable childcare.
Chart Of The Week