MPI-Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we?

The Montana Policy Institute is a new free market think tank focused on Montana issues and Montana solutions. We are a tax exempt 501c(3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing information and ideas to Montana citizens and policymakers. We seek to broaden the debate beyond looking to government for solutions to state challenges, and to make state and local government more accountable to the people they serve. MPI’s goal is to become the premier resource for free market, individual liberty educational and informational products. But more importantly, MPI’s efforts will result in concrete actions that promote the liberty, prosperity, and quality of life for all Montanans.

What is our mission?

The Montana Policy Institute will equip Montana citizens and decision makers to better evaluate state public policy options, and to do so from the perspective that policies based upon free markets, limited government, and individual responsibility will result in the greatest common good.

How do we do it?

MPI gives people tools to argue for individual liberty, smaller government, and freedom of choice when considering state policy options.

We provide research materials and forums that educate Montanans on the value to society of letting individuals consider their unique circumstances, and decide what is best for them.

MPI broadens policy debates beyond the belief that government intervention should be the avenue of first, rather than last resort. Our policy solutions propose that:

• All Institutions have important roles (voluntary, business, community, family, and government)

• All People can contribute through their backgrounds and unique circumstances and goals

• All Disciplines may hold policy solutions (science, economics, ethics, law, history…)

• All Times matter. Long-term consequences are as or more important than short-term impacts

MPI focuses on state issues while collaborating with like-minded state and national organizations. We seek out opportunities to reduce the intrusion of state government mandates while making state government more transparent and accountable.

What is MPI doing?

MPI currently has two projects in the works. The first is a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) proposal that would achieve several ends:

• The proposed package would stop the ratcheting up effect of government spending where revenues and budgets are increased during good economic times, but only revenues go down when the economy falters resulting in either deficits or increased taxes. The solution doesn’t necessarily lie in reducing spending, although there’s room for that too; we can make significant progress by just placing limits on spending growth.

• The proposed package would also decouple government revenues from normal business cycles by building reserves during strong economic times and drawing on those reserves when the economy slows and revenues decline.

• And the best part…with spending growth rates under control and a reserve fund to draw on during periods of slow revenue growth, excess revenues can be returned to taxpayers in the form of rebates or permanent tax relief. Studies show that under a very conservative TABOR plan, Montanans would have had over $2 billion dollars returned to them over the past 15 years.

MPI is also working on a Montana Transparency Project that would place all state and local spending on a fully searchable, downloadable, web-enabled database. Think of the possibilities! Citizens and legislators could see exactly where budgeted money was spent for every department, every county, locality and school board. Government entities could easily justify funding requests based on their open, transparent, and demonstrated budgetary requirements. Contractors could see who won bids and why. Who loses when sunlight illuminates the process? Only those whose interests are vested in a system that hides where public money goes and why.

How can I get involved?

Good ideas don’t become good policy without the active support of people like you! Join MPI and receive regular updates on our projects and on the state of our state government.

 

For more information on what we’re doing and how you can help, contact MPI at

info@montanapolicy.org

 

Because Liberty makes all the difference in the world