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Author Topic: let's talk Montana  (Read 12905 times)

stpeter

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let's talk Montana
« 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!
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Robert H.

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #1 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.

JasonPSorens

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #2 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. ;)
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freedomroad

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The Economic Ranking Case Against Montana
« Reply #3 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
« Last Edit: June 06, 2003, 11:43:00 pm by FreedomRoad »
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freedomroad

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #4 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.
“””””
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freedomroad

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Possible Opposition Groups: Montana vs. Wyoming
« Reply #5 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
« Last Edit: June 04, 2003, 02:55:21 am by FreedomRoad »
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mactruk

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #6 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?
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mactruk

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #7 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.    
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JasonPSorens

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #8 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.
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JasonPSorens

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #9 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.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

BobW

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #10 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
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Hank

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #11 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.
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craft_6

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #12 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.
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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #13 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?
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JasonPSorens

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Re:let's talk Montana
« Reply #14 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.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism
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