Montana’s 2022 New Year’s Resolution

Tanner Avery

Director of The Center for New Frontiers

Tanner Avery
/ Blog
January 6, 2022

Montana’s 2022 New Year’s Resolution

Rule notices indicate the Red Tape Relief Initiative has already spurred large reductions in the state’s regulatory burden.

“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

As we kick off 2022, Montana state agencies are busy with their New Years resolution: eliminate excessive and unnecessary red tape. This resolution has been in the works since January of 2021, when Gov. Gianforte established the Red Tape Relief Initiative with the goal of identifying and repealing “excessive, outdated, and unnecessary regulations.” 

In some cases regulations are necessary to protect the public health, safety, and the environment, but far too often unnecessary regulations on the books build up hurting innovation and reducing economic growth. While any one regulation may not appear to stifle economic growth, a build up of “duplicative, obsolete, conflicting, and even contradictory rules” often lead to unforeseen consequences. Much like pebbles in a stream, a single pebble may have little effect on the flow but the continuous addition of pebbles may stop the stream altogether. 

To make it easier to track the progress of the governor’s Red Tape Relief Initiative during 2022 we created a Red Tape Snapshot, a comprehensive look at the current size of Montana’s regulations. 

As of May 2021, Montana had 59,882 regulations on the books – more than all of our regional neighbors, except for Wyoming.

While the excess of regulations is dismal, the stage is set for Montana to begin reversing this trend in 2022. Rule notices indicate the Red Tape Relief Initiative has already spurred large reductions in the state’s regulatory burden.

Montana is poised to significantly reduce its excessive and unnecessary regulatory burden in 2022, making Montana a home to innovation and economic growth. With the administration’s New Year’s Resolution to cut back on red tape, 2022 is set to be a great year for Montana!

For Liberty,

Tanner Avery

The Latest


Frontier President and CEO, Kendall Cotton’s latest article in Lee Newspapers discusses developments of the Red Tape Initiative and what the coming year will look like for regulatory relief in Montana. Be sure to check out the entire article.

“If Montana leaders continue to make good on their resolution to eliminate excessive and unnecessary red tape, we anticipate this update will show Montanans finally starting to see substantial regulatory relief.”

Scaling Up Forest Management

In 2020, 11,000 acres were considered “under-management” by state agencies, in 2021 that number grew to 25,000 acres.

Our Take: For nearly a century, forest managers adhered to a near zero-tolerance policy towards wildfires, leading to the buildup of dry and dead fuel that we see in Montana’s forest today. We applaud Gov. Gianforte on prioritizing forest management to make our forests healthier and less prone to catastrophic forest fires.

Montana is Growing

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report showing Montana to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation. Montana added 20,000 new residents between April 2020 and July 2021.

Our Take: Montana’s growth is understandable. We were ranked the #1 state to open a small business in 2021, and our state’s outdoor opportunities make it appealing to many people. While this growth is great for our economy, it does have a drawback – our population is growing faster than the housing supply causing prices to rise rapidly. This means we have to get serious about reducing local barriers to new affordable housing.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!