Lawmakers Teeing up Economic Recovery

Lawmakers Teeing up Economic Recovery

One of the best ways to spur economic growth is to deliver a state budget that protects taxpayers and works to correct years of uncontrolled government growth.

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” – Ronald Reagan

The last few months, the Montana legislature has faced repeated criticism for not focusing enough on boosting our economic recovery. But are those criticisms fair?

One of the best ways to spur economic growth is to deliver a state budget that protects taxpayers and works to correct years of uncontrolled government growth.

We’ve recommended that the legislature adopt a Conservative Montana Budget, one that sets a maximum spending growth limit of no more 4.4% for the next biennium, based on the growth of the economy. This was a one of the three pillars of our Montana Recovery Agenda.

So far, the legislature appears on track to keep appropriations under this limit. While there certainly is a lot of budget negotiations left to play out, the Legislative Fiscal Division’s budget comparison currently marks the biennial increase for state spending at just 3.7%.

Keep in mind, this target excludes federal funds – like the billions in federal COVID relief now directed to the state to spend.

This fiscal restraint is great news for taxpayers, because the legislature has been able to balance limits on spending with tax relief: doubling down on reducing income taxes for the vast majority of Montanans and advancing targeted relief for thousands of small businesses.

As we’ve noted before, by keeping the growth of government spending in check while implementing tax cuts lawmakers can avoid the pitfalls of other states like Kansas and deliver permanent tax relief for Montanans.

Lawmakers are also zeroing in on reducing the burden of harmful regulations on our economy. Governor Gianforte’s Red Tape Relief Initiative is moving forward, gathering a task force to oversee planning and implementation of regulatory review efforts. They’ve also recently opened a portal where you can submit suggestions for problematic regulations that should be removed. Check it out! I expect this effort to really take off after the legislative session.

Despite what critics are saying, Montana lawmakers appear to be right on track to deliver on a robust economic recovery.

For Liberty,

Kendall Cotton

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The Latest

What drives healthcare costs?

  1. In Right on Healthcare’s latest policy brief, Senior Fellow John O’Shea zeros in on the biggest cost drivers in the healthcare system.

Our Take:

This report serves up 3 big, bold targets for policy makers who want to drive down the cost of healthcare: hospital prices, insurance and pharmaceuticals.

This quote simply speaks for itself: “Underlying the various drivers of healthcare costs is the common theme of a dysfunctional marketplace hampered by anti-competitive behavior and excessive regulation.”

In Case You Missed It

  1. Read our latest Lee Newspapers Column detailing how regulatory burdens harm the poor more than the rich. 

Our Take:

New research shows the regressive effects that decades of growth in federal regulations has had on Montana’s economy:

  • 18,000 more people in poverty
  • 1% higher income inequality
  • 51 fewer small businesses annually
  • 508 lost jobs annually

Simply put, reducing red tape may be one of the best things our leaders can do to level the economic playing field and stick up for the “little guy.”

Bills we are watching:

  1. This week, we testified in favor of HB 231, a proposal which draws from our recommendations for lawmakers to repeal Montana’s Certificate of Need (CON) program.

Our Take:

Under the CON program, the government gets to determine if a new health care business is “needed,” a process that has been shown to limit healthcare competition which could give Montanans more choices and lower costs. It’s time that Montana lawmakers repeal this harmful program.

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