Free State Project Forum

Archive => Which State? => Topic started by: stpeter on June 02, 2003, 10:36:47 pm

Title: let's talk Montana
Post by: stpeter on June 02, 2003, 10:36:47 pm
Montana seemed to make quite an impression on folks who attended the Grand Western Conference (e.g., see Claire Wolfe's weblog entry at http://www.clairewolfe.com/wolfesblog/archives/00000141.html). I have to admit Montana always makes a great impression on me whenever I visit. But impressions aside, we also have to look at some facts about Montana. It's got high taxes compared to Wyoming, NH, and other FSP candidates. It has a relatively bloated government sector. It's awfully dependent on the "Federal" government (its dependency rating is 1.67 -- the only state that's worse is North Dakota). 1.57% of its population is in the NEA (the only state that's worse is Alaska), which means that its 14,000+ NEA members will nearly match the FSP contingent (contrast with Wyoming, which has only about 5,800 NEA members). Its most expensive election in the last 8 years cost $10.9 million, contrast to Wyoming's $4.7 million. Its voting population is around 411,000, nearly twice that of Wyoming's 213,000. So 20k porcupines would be 9.4% of Wyoming voters, vs. 4.9% in Montana (better than 4.1% in Idaho or 3.5% in NH, but still). I too feel an emotional attachment to Montana based on my visits there. But I just can't see how it is twice as good as Wyoming (which it would need to be given its population) when it has higher taxes, bigger government, lower economic freedom, etc. Plus Wyoming has closer proximity to jobs (especially from Cheyenne).

Here's an eye-opening article contrasting Montana and Colorado on economic affairs: http://independenceinstitute.org/publications/Op-Eds/PoliticsandGovernment/countyourblessingscolorado.htm This article (from the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Colorado) shows that Montana made some horrendous choices regarding economic and government policy, greatly expanding government bureacracy over the last 30 years, with predictable results. Wyoming has not made the same mistakes and the southeast corner of Wyoming can tap into the job markets of the northern Front Range of Colorado (Fort Collins, and even Boulder and Denver). Why should the FSP try to reform a state like Montana that has made so many mistakes, when the smaller, freer state of Wyoming offers much stronger potential?

Hey, I like Montana too at an emotional level. But I really want to see Montana advocates make the argument for their favored state based on facts and research. Let's not make a decision of this magnitude based on emotion!
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Robert H. on June 03, 2003, 03:18:42 am
Hey, I like Montana too at an emotional level. But I really want to see Montana advocates make the argument for their favored state based on facts and research. Let's not make a decision of this magnitude based on emotion!

Agreed.

I wish I could have made it to the GWC to see what sort of arguments were being made for the various states, but finances didn't permit it at the time.  I take it that Montana impressed many people because it is so socially libertarian and because it is quite a beautiful state.

On the whole, Montana does have some impressive features, but it also has some serious problems that I believe detract from its ability to become a free state as realistically as Wyoming could.  You've already pointed out the bulk of them - federal dependence, bloated state government, and higher voting population.  Montana also has an income tax, which is notoriously difficult to get rid of (although Alaska managed it) because it tends to support so many state services.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 03, 2003, 10:23:24 am
I think what impressed people most about Montana were the state legislator and state senator who came to the conference to promote the state and welcome the FSP.  This is also a factor that benefits New Hampshire, because its governor is welcoming the FSP.  And finally, I think Vermont should benefit equally since many organizations & personalities there are welcoming us as well, but my report on my visit there was a bit more evenhanded, noting that there will be adversaries in VT as well as supporters.

Frankly, I think that in just about any state we are considering, we could find people in high places who would welcome us and people in high places who would discourage us.  We just haven't yet had local activists in these states who could do an adequate job of promotion.
Also, I think people were impressed by the friendliness of MT residents, but I think you'll find that in any of the states we're considering also - I had an odd experience in Maine, to be sure, but I'm sure they've got friendly folks as well.  I didn't get to interact with the local population in Delaware much either, but the LP folks sure were friendly. ;)
Title: The Economic Ranking Case Against Montana
Post by: freedomroad on June 04, 2003, 02:44:48 am
The Economic Ranking Case Against Montana

1. Economic Freedom Index
WY 4th
MT 26th

2. Small Business Survival Index
WY 3rd
MT 38th

3. Economic Freedom in North America (US rankings)
WY 27th
MT 49th

4. Business Friendliness of State Tax Systems
WY 1st
MT 22nd

5. Wealth-Friendliest State Ranking
WY 1st
MT 44th

6. Forbes Best Small Places 2003
WY Cheyenne 12th, Casper 14th
MT Missoula 11th, Billings 23rd

7. Republican Liberty Caucus Congressional Economic Average (score out of a possible 100)
WY 79.2
MT 52.4

8. Citizens Against Government Waste Congressional Average (score out of a possible 100)
WY 78
MT 54

9. National Taxpayers Union Congressional Average (score out of a possible 100)
WY 74
MT 50

10. Average Household Income
WY $38,000 ($1,000 below the national average)
MT $33,000 (the lowest in the nation or $6,000 below the national average)

11. Low Taxes
WY No wage, interest, dividend, or corporate income tax, and one of the lowest property tax levels in the country
MT No general sales tax
(The two states border each other.  WY’s citizens can take advantage of MT’s lack of general sales tax but MT’s citizens cannot take advantage of WY’s lack of various income taxes or low property taxes)

12. 2003 Projected Deficit
WY $0
MT $118,000,000
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: freedomroad on June 04, 2003, 02:45:42 am
For other reasons to pick WY over MT check out my posts on this thread,
http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=1918;start=0
I compare WY, MT and NH on a variety of things.


This comes from the Wyoming Report #2,
http://www.freestateproject.com/wyoming2.htm#conclusion

“”””
o   Wyoming vs. Montana
In many ways, the same group of FSP members is attracted to both Montana and Wyoming. However, Wyoming has many advantages over Montana. Wyoming's population is much more likely to vote for small-government candidates for President, and its citizen's ideology is more pro-freedom. Montana has much stronger opposition groups in the way of stronger labor union (because of no right-to-work laws), teacher union, Green Party, and Native American groups. Montana has a big problem with liberals from California moving to the entire western part of the state; as opposed to Wyoming, where California liberals are only moving to Jackson Hole. Montana's farmers are very dependent on the federal government; and many of the people are on welfare. Montana has a large border with Canada, which opens it up to all types of homeland security, border control, and terrorist prevention laws and federal regulations. Montana has the lowest mean household income in the country, whereas Wyoming's is more in line with the national average. Montana is heavily regulated with parts of it having bicycle helmet and living wage laws, unlike Wyoming, which does not have such laws. One Porcupine even said that they think of Montana as, "the Maine of the West." In fact, in Wyoming, many places do not even have business licenses or building code laws. Wyoming has lower property taxes than Montana and also has no income or corporate taxes.
“””””
Title: Possible Opposition Groups: Montana vs. Wyoming
Post by: freedomroad on June 04, 2003, 02:54:47 am
Possible Opposition Groups: Montana vs. Wyoming

1.   Green Party 2000 Election:
WY none
MT 24,487 or 6%, that is more than the expected FSP membership

2.   Labor Unions
WY 20,000 members (right-to-work)
MT 48,000 members (no right-to-work laws)

3.   Teacher Unions
WY 38% in NEA No teach forced dues or monopoly power
MT 68% in NEA Forced dues and monopoly power

4.   Religious Monopoly Control
(% of state residents in the 3 major religions for that state)
WY 36% (18% Catholic, 9% Lutheran, 9% Baptist)
MT 43% (22% Catholic, 14% Lutheran, 7% Methodist)

5.   Native Americans
WY 2.3%
MT 6.2%

For sources see: http://www.freestateproject.com/wyoming2.htm#groups
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: mactruk on June 04, 2003, 05:35:05 pm
  If you have a low average wage then how can MT have a higher income tax if you dont pay income tax on low wages?  Second no sales tax has a bigger bang for your buck than you realize.  We in MT dont have any state services to pay for - there are very few state services - the money is wasted on payroll.  If the state became free there would be a bigger positive impact on the state budget than in WY?
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: mactruk on June 04, 2003, 05:46:05 pm
  I am sorry but your post on why MT fell to dead last has little to do with the size of our GOV.  Who ever wrote that has no idea of what has happened here.  This gov here in MT will soon collapse due to no mo money much like Colorado.    
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 06, 2003, 07:39:09 am
Well, the MT media is awful; that's something everyone acknowledges and something the FSP has found out for itself.  One of our key challenges if we move to Montana is breaking the statist media monopoly.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 06, 2003, 08:00:45 am
Do the "federal dependence" figures on the website need to be updated? The editorial says $1.70 for Montana, but our website says $1.67. Did some new numbers come out?

We have the latest figures from the Tax Foundation, but perhaps there's another group that calculates these things as well.  The next Tax Foundation report on federal dependence is due next month.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: BobW on June 06, 2003, 08:23:16 am
Hi Libertarian40 and Jason,

"The federal farm program benefits all agricultural states."?? Does editor Jeff Gibson also write for Continental Grain??

More than Montanians use US funded highways in Montana.  Plus, in case of emergency, the main interstate highway needs to be there regardless of use.

Montana is off the beaten path because of opiates and policies from Washington, DC.  Isn't Montana the location of the palladium mine the Russians tried to buy soas to corner the world market?  I think so.  If not, it's nearby.

Maybe Jeff Gibson also works for Isvestia.  Just keep the place quiet.  Isn't it interesting other areas of the world with mining industries are busy and in the news.  I wonder if there's a corrolation.

Montana certainly has a critical shortage of business journalists.

BobW
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Hank on June 06, 2003, 11:00:33 am
Compatriot Porcupines,

Please dig out your road atlas and a couple hi-lighters of different colors.
Color in Wyoming (with perhaps yellow).
Then use another color (orange?) to fill in each of its surrounding states.
THAT is the longer range plan.
Liberate every state West of the Missouri,
East of the Coast Ranges, and North of the Arkansas river.
Maybe we could even liberate the western Canadian provinces
with a pincer movement between Alaska and Montana.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: craft_6 on June 06, 2003, 11:17:45 am
Compatriot Porcupines,

Please dig out your road atlas and a couple hi-lighters of different colors.
Color in Wyoming (with perhaps yellow).
Then use another color (orange?) to fill in each of its surrounding states.
THAT is the longer range plan.
Liberate every state West of the Missouri,
East of the Coast Ranges, and North of the Arkansas river.
Maybe we could even liberate the western Canadian provinces
with a pincer movement between Alaska and Montana.

Hey!  What about Texas?  It has it's share of freedom lovers, many of whom moved their to escape state income taxes.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Karl on June 06, 2003, 11:32:02 am
Liberate every state West of the Missouri,
East of the Coast Ranges, and North of the Arkansas river.

Isn't freeing Wyoming grandiose and dubious enough?
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 06, 2003, 12:02:27 pm
Compatriot Porcupines,

Please dig out your road atlas and a couple hi-lighters of different colors.
Color in Wyoming (with perhaps yellow).
Then use another color (orange?) to fill in each of its surrounding states.
THAT is the longer range plan.
Liberate every state West of the Missouri,
East of the Coast Ranges, and North of the Arkansas river.
Maybe we could even liberate the western Canadian provinces
with a pincer movement between Alaska and Montana.

You mean kinda like this?

http://pantheon.yale.edu/~jps35/north_america_ref02.jpg

LOL  Playing with maps is fun.  Obviously, my graphic design skills are nonexistent, however.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Stumpy on June 06, 2003, 12:17:12 pm
I notice the map leaves Texas all by its lonesome.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Hank on June 06, 2003, 12:31:37 pm
Quote
I notice the map leaves Texas all by its lonesome.
 ;) ;)
Doug, you must've been grinning from ear to ear when you wrote that.

The Lone Star State probably has more people than all the other states and provinces on my colored in map. Maybe we could stretch our liberation to include New Mexico, Arizona, and Kansas like Jason's map shows
(thank's Jason!!.  ;D
 Without more Porcupine reinforcements, Texans may have to reliberate their own Alamo.  ;)  :)
Could you bring Oklahoma along too?
They're almost Texans. ;)
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Stumpy on June 06, 2003, 12:41:51 pm
Yup.

I lived in Texas for a while. I loved the spirit of independence there.

Too bad the population is so high.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 06, 2003, 12:51:22 pm
Yeah, we Texans generally feel that we could be totally independent if we wanted to, but we won't go for it just now because we want to be charitable to the other states that need us.  For now. ;)

Oklahoma is basically our redheaded stepchild; we wouldn't mind having the Okies in our republic, but they might prefer going with the L.S.S. to avoid being outnumbered by a bunch of Texicans!

(Oh, and once a Texan, always a Texan I guess. ;))
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 06, 2003, 01:07:34 pm
The Great Western Porcupine Republic!

What should the capital be?  I can think of strong cases for both Denver (largest city) and Vancouver (port, and geographically in the middle).

Note that I've also got a New England confederation comprising VT, NH, and ME. ;)  It could also be combined with the Atlantic provinces.  By itself, Concord and Augusta both make good candidates for capital cities; with the Atlantic provinces, the case for Augusta is strengthened, but Halifax might be the winner.

And for those worrywarts, I'm not advocating secession, just imagining what things might look like in 2120 AD. ;)
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Stumpy on June 06, 2003, 01:24:09 pm
What should the capital be?  

Vancouver, that is if they don’t decide to go in with Pacifica.

I think Vancouver’s political outlook is closer to that of Seattle than to Montana or Wyoming.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 06, 2003, 02:23:03 pm
Yes, it's true that Vancouver is socialistic, but they're also a bit libertarian on marijuana, and the rest of B.C. (other than Victoria, actually the provincial capital) is quite conservative/libertarian-ish.

Calgary might be the closest we could find to a big city in line with our views...but then, you have to remember that the Canadian and American contexts are different.  In an American context Calgary would be a centrist city, but in the Canadian context it's conservative.  (However, Jim Turnbull has some choice words for Calgary and Edmonton!)
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 06, 2003, 02:26:47 pm

For the Atlantic Confederation Atlantica?

St. John would be a good central location -- even though it is a port city.
The back harbor (Kennebec & Grand Bays) would be an awesome asset.


Yes, you're right, St. John does appear best situated (even though tiny Fredericton is actually the provincial capital of New Brunswick).

Newfoundland could possibly be brought into "Atlantica" as well; it has very substantial natural resources and is currently weighing independence from Canada (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/secession/message/148).  That would give Atlantica control of the Cabot Strait and Strait of Belle Isle, the only ocean outlets for the St. Lawrence waterway.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Robert H. on June 07, 2003, 08:12:41 am
Joe's point about locating a capital city away from coastline is well taken.  I can also see three other factors that might influence the location of a capital city:



Looking at Jason's map of a possible western confederation, I wonder if Butte, Montana might not be a good choice.  It's a smaller city, located in the mountains (so it would be more easily defensible); it's located on the current US side (most dense population section); and it's located at the junction of two interstates that run almost exactly north/south and east/west across the rest of the territory.

It's fun to speculate about, anyway!   :D
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: BobW on June 07, 2003, 11:26:11 am
Hi Jason and all,

Re:  NE Confederation

It's hurts that I'm the one lengthening everyone's commuting time to the capitol.

The Faeroe Islands are seeking independence from Denmark.  Last year these islanders held a referendum as a first step toward independence from Denmark.  They've been seeking independence since the 1948 home rule act.

Something similiar is going on with Greenland.

Those folks are anti Europe and more pro the New World.

Plus, no deficiency on the omega 3 nutrients.

BobW
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Zxcv on June 09, 2003, 03:42:00 am
Jason, I love the map! However (always one to pick nits):

Vancouver, and Vancouver island belong in Pacifica.

The Pacifica eastern boundary is the Cascades, west of where you have shown it.

Pacifica also should get Las Vegas and Clark County (?)

We'll start our own new capital city (as they did with DC), plunk it down in some non-windy part of Wyoming, or western Colorado. Or hell, Salt Lake City (but I know some folks would squawk).

Somehow I think Missouri belongs in the US.

Texas may be reabsorbed by Mexico. With any luck, California will be too, unless it's fallen into the ocean.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: JasonPSorens on June 09, 2003, 06:01:14 pm
Jason, I love the map! However (always one to pick nits):

Vancouver, and Vancouver island belong in Pacifica.

Yeah, you're right... Guess I wanted to give the GWR a good port. ;)

Quote
The Pacifica eastern boundary is the Cascades, west of where you have shown it.

Really?  I must have been inexact then, because I meant to make the border the Cascades (actually the 120th parallel, which serves as the border between California and Nevada - I guess that's slightly east of the Cascades ;)).

Quote
Pacifica also should get Las Vegas and Clark County (?)

Hm...maybe.

Quote
We'll start our own new capital city (as they did with DC), plunk it down in some non-windy part of Wyoming, or western Colorado. Or hell, Salt Lake City (but I know some folks would squawk).

Actually, I think the founders' idea of putting the capital in an easily accessible area where no one would want to live was a good one. ;)  Maybe Cove Fort, Utah, a tiny town in the high desert that happens to be at the crossroads of two interstates!

Quote
Somehow I think Missouri belongs in the US.

Yeah...Mark Twain did fight in a rebel militia, but places like St. Louis definitely belong in amorphous Yankee-land. ;)

Quote
Texas may be reabsorbed by Mexico.

I seriously doubt that. ;)  Even the Spanish speakers in Texas refer to themselves as "Tejanos."

Quote
With any luck, California will be too, unless it's fallen into the ocean.

No argument here.
Title: Re:let's talk Montana
Post by: Heatherj on July 03, 2003, 02:55:49 pm
Actually, if you could leave St. Louis and Kansas City in the US, the Ozarks (MO & AR, I'm pretty sure) would prefer to be part of the Free State.  Draw a line across the state, along the MO River, maybe?  Making sure that KC & STL are on the US side, of course.


Somehow I think Missouri belongs in the US.



Yeah...Mark Twain did fight in a rebel militia, but places like St. Louis definitely belong in amorphous Yankee-land