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Let Other States Experiment with Medicaid Expansion – Part II

Medicaid expansion is supposedly a no-brainer. It’ll provide insurance for a lot low income people. It’s free federal money. And it’ll create jobs and pump up local economies. So why are the 50 states almost evenly divided on whether to take this gift horse or send it out to pasture?

It’s because a lot of governors and legislatures have decided that at best the jury’s still out on whether expansion is a good idea; and more likely it’s a bad idea that will hurt many of the people it’s supposed to help and turn into an albatross around taxpayers’ necks.

I’m open to being proven wrong, but I agree with those who say that Medicaid expansion as laid out in Obamacare is both bad welfare policy and bad economic policy. It’s bad welfare policy because it shifts primarily young, able and to a large extent childless adults into a system with demonstrably inferior access to care, and then traps them there. Forty four percent of the newly eligible would be adults under the age of 34, and seventy five percent would be childless.[i] In addition, a fourth of all new enrollees would be dumped into Medicaid from private insurance plans that almost always provide better access to care than Medicaid.[ii] The difference is in having health insurance versus getting health care.

I have a fishing license. That gives me the right to stand in a river waving my fly rod around, but it doesn’t guarantee that I’ll catch any fish. Same goes for health insurance versus health care. Medicaid recipients encounter barriers to primary care at nearly twice the rate of those with private insurance.[iii] Because of this lack of access to primary care, they then show up in emergency rooms at rates nearly twice those of the privately insured, but sicker and much more expensive to treat.[iv] Shoveling well over 70,000 new Montanans into this system[v] while also decreasing provider reimbursements under Obamacare won’t make access to quality care any easier for these folks or for anyone else in the state.

Medicaid expansion is also bad economic policy. In fact, it’s pure crony capitalism. You can’t swing a dead cat in Helena right now without hitting a hospital or pharmaceutical lobbyist trying to get their surgical gloves into taxpayers’ wallets. Yes, there’s good evidence that the “free” money coming from Washington may create around twelve thousand jobs in Montana; but will those jobs create health benefits that are commensurate with their costs? If not, the money is better left in the private economy where it can be spent more productively. A recent New England Journal of Medicine article said that “Treating the health care system like a (wildly inefficient) jobs program conflicts directly with the goal of ensuring that all Americans have access to care at an affordable price.”[vi] And anyway, it’d be much cheaper for Montana taxpayers to just put those who are eligible for federal subsidies into the new exchanges and let Washington pay their entire bill. It’s free money, right?

Except that it’s not. It’s taxpayer money whether you write the check to Helena or to Washington. The net cost to Montana taxpayers of Medicaid expansion through 2021 is over $50 million according to one estimate,[vii] and closer to $100 million according to another.[viii] That’s after the “free” money and jobs and tax revenues, and assumes the federal government will keep its promise to cover 100% of expansion costs in the early years and 90% later on, despite the fact that even the President’s own past two budgets included reductions in those commitments.[ix]

In reality nobody knows what it will cost, but there’s precious little precedent for entitlement spending coming in below or even near initial estimates. In 1965 Medicare was estimated to cost $9 billion annually by 1990. The actual cost in 1990 was $67 billion.[x] There’s no reason to think Medicaid expansion estimates will fare any better, and Montana taxpayers would be on the hook for the difference since it’s politically unlikely that these entitlements would be reversed once they’re put in place.

So why not wait a couple of years? Let’s see how things go in California and Illinois and other bastions of state fiscal responsibility, and then take a look at what’s working and what’s not so we can make an informed decision. Or, we could try true reform and turn Medicaid into a system that really does provide quality access to quality care for more people who need it. We’d do that by reconnecting the patient to the provider and the cost to create responsible consumers rather than filtering both the funding and the care through a self-perpetuating bureaucracy. But that’s a topic for another day.

 


[i] The Urban Institute, “Opting in to the Medicaid Expansion under the ACA: Who Are the Uninsured Adults Who Could gain Health Insurance Coverage,” August 2012,  pp. 8-9.

[ii] University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research, “An Estimate of the Economic Ramifications Attributable to the Potential Medicaid Expansion on the Montana Economy,” January 2013, p. 6.

[iii] 16.3% of Medicaid patients encountered barriers versus 8.9% of those with private insurance. Annals of Emergency Medicine, “National Study of Barriers to Timely Primary Care and Emergency Department Utilization Among Medicaid Beneficiaries,” 2012, p. 4.

[iv] Ibid

[v] Urban Institute, op. cit., p. 18 and BBER, op. cit., p. 7.

[vi] Katherine Baicker, Ph.D. and Amitabh Chandra, Ph.D, The New England Journal of Medicine, “The Health Care Jobs Fallacy, June 28 2012, p. 2435.

[vii] BBER, op. cit., p. 29.

[viii] The Heritage Foundation, “Obamacare and the Medicaid Expansion: How Does Your State Fare?” March 5th 2013, http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/05/obamacare-medicaid-expansion-state-by-state-charts/.

[ix] Charles Blahous, Mercatus Center, “The Affordable Care Act’s Optional Medicaid Expansion: Considerations Facing State Governments,” 2013, p. 32.

[x] Conn Carroll, The Foundry, “Health Care Reform Cost Estimates: What is the Track Record?” August 4th 2009, http://blog.heritage.org/2009/08/04/health-care-reform-cost-estimates-what-is-the-track-record/.

The Montana Supreme Court Versus the Rule of Law

By Robert G. Natelson, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, Montana Policy Institute

Click here for full study. (PDF – 3.77MB)

Executive Summary

There is a consensus among researchers that adherence to the rule of law is crucial to vigorous economic growth. Montana’s economy has lagged the economy of most of the United States since the 1980s, and this MPI Study explains one reason why: The Montana Supreme Court, the final authority in the state on most legal questions, has not honored the rule of law. Its failure to do so has harmed wealth and job creation in Montana.

In this Study, Professor Rob Natelson, the Institute’s Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, first examines what it means to honor the rule of law. He identifies five components: clarity, stability, notice, fairness, and restraint. He then shows how the rule of law is important to a state’s economy. The American Founders understood this, and Professor Natelson cites provisions they inserted into the U.S. Constitution to protect the rule of law.

He then explains why the Montana Supreme Court is more influential within state boundaries than most tribunals of its kind, giving it a significant impact on the Montana economy.

The heart of the Study is its comparison of rule-of-law standards with the court’s actual practices. The comparison is based partly on previous scholarly research and partly on a new case-by-case analysis of some of the court’s most important opinions. Professor Natelson concludes that the court frequently diverges from rule of law standards, and that this conduct presents a serious barrier to prosperity in Montana.

 

Immediate Release: Study ranks MT cities on business friendliness

Press Release
9/23/2012
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Glenn Oppel, Policy Director
Montana Policy Institute
406-431-3685
goppel@montanapolicy.org

Summary:
The Montana Policy Institute and American Indicators ranked the business friendliness of 25 cities across Montana based on three categories: 1) economic vitality; 2) tax burden on businesses; and 3) community allure. Factors included in the economic vitality category include recent job growth, residential population growth from 2010 to 2011, population growth from 2000 to 2010, and median per-capita income. Business tax burden focuses on the property tax in each locality. Finally, factors measured in community allure include the cost of living index, per-capita violent crime rates, percent of adults age 25 or older with at least a high school diploma, and average Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT) scores for all high schools in incorporates areas. The overall most business friendly city is Polson, with Glasgow and Sidney very close behind. For the top tier of largest cities, Bozeman took the top spot and fourth overall. The full report is available at www.montanapolicy.org.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Montana Cities Ranked On Business Friendliness

Bozeman, MT – The Montana Policy Institute and American Indicators have released a ranking of the economic vitality, business tax burden, and community allure of Montana’s 25 largest cities, providing an index of the measures most sought after by businesses. Polson tops the list, while Anaconda ranks lowest overall.

The report also breaks the cities into five population tiers, with Bozeman heading the largest city rankings and Glasgow leading the smallest group by population.

“Cities and towns are the real engines that drive the statewide economy and we compare how business friendly they are,” according to Glenn Oppel, MPI’s Policy Director. “Businesses that want to start up or relocate in Montana will not only look at the state’s business climate but also stack localities up against each other. Cities that are more welcoming to job creators and their families will obviously have an edge.”

The rankings use several criteria to measure the business climate of each city: tax policy; community allure, including cost of living and crime rate; year-over-year population and job growth; and economic vitality, including average incomes.

“We wanted to make sure that we conducted a comprehensive comparison of cities around the state,” emphasized Oppel. “That’s why we included both large and small, as well as western and eastern, cities in our comparison.”

The western Montana town of Polson takes the prize for the most business-friendly town in the state, with two eastern cities – Glasgow and Sidney – very close behind.

Ranked by size, Bozeman was the most business-friendly city in the top-tier of the largest cities, beating out Billings, Great Falls, Missoula, and Butte in that order. Havre edged out Kalispell, Helena, and Miles City in the second tier. Belgrade topped out the third tier, and Polson and Glasgow topped out the fourth and fifth tiers, respectively.

Oppel pointed out that MPI plans to publish this study on an annual basis to track the business friendly progress of the various cities and see how various policies affect job growth and community well-being.

The full report is available at www.montanapolicy.org.

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340 Words

The Montana Policy Institute is an independent, nonprofit policy research center based in Bozeman. It provides analysis and information to encourage individual freedom, personal responsiblity, and free markets in Montana.

Montana Policy Institute
67 W Kagy Blvd, Ste. B
Bozeman, MT 59715
406-219-0508
info@montanapolicy.org
www.montanapolicy.org

MPI is a Montana tax exempt corporation operated exclusively for the public benefit. No substantial part of the activities of the Institute are used for the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, promote any political campaign, or on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.

The Montana Economy: How Will Climate Change Legislation Impact Economic and Job Growth Study (2010)

BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT:

Montana has fared relatively better in the current recession compared to other states. If climate policy bills like Waxman/Markey (H.R. 2454) or Kerry/Boxer (S. 1733) are enacted, economic recovery from the current recession will be impeded as business and households face rising energy prices. In the longer term, Montana’s real GDP, employment, industrial output, state budget revenues and household income will fall relative to the baseline forecast. As state policymakers consider legislation to reduce U. S. GHG emissions, they need to consider that the cost of reducing emissions is likely to exert significant drag on the state’s economy.

 

Congress is now debating far-reaching energy legislation that would impose an aggressive “cap-and-trade” system on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and mandate high levels of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

o Cap-and-trade is a regulatory system for mandating increasingly lower emissions of GHG. Regulated entities must purchase emission allowances from the government for each ton of GHG emitted. Unused emission allowances can be bought or sold (“traded”) by any person.

o The U.S. House of Representatives’ bill, known as Waxman-Markey, and the Senate version, known as Kerry-Boxer, would cap GHGs beginning in 2012 and become increasingly aggressive, requiring as much as a 20 percent reduction of 2005 levels in 2020 and, finally, an 83 percent reduction in 2050.

o Energy efficiency provisions would impose “energy saving mandates” across all sectors of the economy.

o Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) proposed in the legislation would dictate that states generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

 

Despite the current recession, Montana has seen employment gains that have fared the state better than the U.S. as a whole. However, if pending federal energy legislation is enacted, Montana will face a declining economy and increasing unemployment.

o Montana’s employment, gross state product, industrial output, state budget revenues and household income will fall.

o Employment: By 2030, as emission reduction targets tighten and the free allocation of permits and generous carbon offsets phase out, Montana would stand to lose between 4,964 and 6,761 jobs. The primary cause is lower industrial output due to higher energy prices, the high cost of complying with required emissions cuts and greater competition from overseas manufacturers with less stringent emissions requirements.

o Gross State Product: Higher energy prices, fewer jobs and loss of industrial output are estimated to reduce Montana’s GSP by as much as $900 million to $1.2 billion in 2030.

o Industrial Output: Montana is likely to experience a decrease in manufacturing output. Overall manufacturing output declines by 5.1 percent in the low-cost case and by 5.8 percent in the high-cost case. Two important energy-intensive sectors, nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing and primary metal manufacturing, would fall considerably, declining by up to 24 percent in 2030. Coal production would fall by 94 to 96 percent.

o State Budget Revenues: Since Montana typically receives about 10 cents of every dollar of income generated in the state, projected declines in GSP would result in a $49 to $65 million reduction in state tax revenues. Paired with higher energy prices, this will reduce state budget receipts and force Montana policymakers to make hard choices about how to fund basic services, such as law enforcement and schools.

o Household Income: Disposable income would fall by an average of $414 to $764 in 2030. Low-income families and the elderly, who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on energy, will be especially hurt.

Montana’s economy has benefited from growth in mining and related industries, enabling the state to fare better in the current economic climate. Mining, however, is particularly vulnerable to adverse impacts from federal climate change bills.

o The Montana economy actually grew in 2008—at a rate of 1.8 percent — compared to the U.S. economy, which only grew at a rate of 0.7 percent in 2008. Employment also grew in Montana at a rate of 1.7 percent in 2008.

o Montana’s real per capita GSP grew 25 percent in the last decade, five percent more than the national growth in that period.

o In the past 10 years, employment in Montana’s mining industry grew by 68.4 percent – that is nearly double the growth of the mining industry in the United States over the same time period.

o According to a study by commissioned by the National Mining Association, the mining industry contributed 16,220 jobs and $3 billion to the state’s economy in 2007.

o Montana is a substantial oil producing state and is responsible for nearly two percent of U.S. production. According to a 2009 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the oil and natural gas industry supported 34,210 jobs and contributed $3.3 billion to the Montana economy in 2007.

 

Multiple economic analyses show that these federal energy bills would increase the price of electricity, gasoline and natural gas. Consequently, economic productivity, employment and household income would decline.

o To meet the stringent emissions targets of Waxman-Markey, electric companies would have to substitute high-cost technologies for conventional generation, increasing prices for Montana families and businesses.

o Energy prices in Montana, a state which now depends on coal (the energy source most at risk under mandatory greenhouse gas emission caps) for 63 percent of electricity generation, would rise higher than many other states.

o By 2030 the price of gasoline would increase by as much as 27 percent, electricity up to 61 percent and natural gas up to 78 percent.

o Faced with skyrocketing energy costs, decreasing production and greater competition from overseas manufacturers without these pressures, Montana businesses will have no choice but to cut thousands of jobs.

o Montana’s 967 schools and universities and 65 hospitals will likely experience a 18.1 percent to 27.9 percent increase in energy expenditures by 2030. For government entities, costs for services, including public transportation and vehicle fleets, such as school buses, would also rise.

o Montana’s current relatively favorable electricity prices are an important factor in the state’s ability to keep business costs low and thus, attract new sources of employment.

 

At a time when margins are running thin on family budgets, the average Montana family will experience higher energy costs, leaving less income to be spent on other necessities.

o The average Montana family would see their home energy costs go up 61 percent by 2030.

o The ripple effect of higher energy prices would impose a financial hardship on Montana households with disposable income being reduced by $414 to $764 in 2030.

o Because they spend a greater share of their income on energy costs, low-income families, including elderly residents on fixed incomes, will suffer disproportionately from the effects of this legislation.

We all want a clean environment. Most of us live in Montana because we love our Big Sky and the beautiful land beneath it. But those shrill voices demanding that we trade our economic well being for a clean environment are trying to drive us into a false choice. Exporting our jobs to cheap overseas labor and our energy production to dirty overseas power plants will not help the environment or reduce greenhouse gases. There are alternatives to cap-and-trade, and a politician’s willingness to look at them can be a litmus test indicating whose interests he or she is really serving.

 

 

The Montana Policy Institute is a 501(c) (3) policy research organization that equips Montana citizens and decision makers to better evaluate state public policy options from the perspective that policies based upon limited government, individual rights, and individual responsibility will result in the greatest common good. To find out more or for copies of the complete Cap-and-Trade study, visit us at www.montanapolicy.org. NOTHING WRITTEN here is to be construed as an attempt to influence any election or legislative action. PERMISSION TO REPRINT this paper in whole or in part is hereby granted provided full credit is given to the authors, the American Council for Capital Formation, and the Montana Policy Institute.

Copyright © 2010

The Montana Policy Institute

67 West Kagy Blvd., STE. B

Bozeman, MT 59715

406-219-0508

www.montanapolicy.org

 

Click here for full study.

Even GE CEO Gets the Costs of Overregulation

By: Carl | July 1, 2010, 2:59 pm

According to an article I can’t link to in the Financial Times because I’m not a subscriber, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said, among other things, the following:

“We are a pathetic exporter…We have to become an industrial powerhouse again but you don’t do this when government and entrepreneurs are not in synch.”

GE itself, as one of the country’s foremost rent seekers at the Global Warming subsidy trough, immediately disclaimed any and all association to Immelt’s remarks. But it gives you an idea of what these companies that want to profit at our expense through government intervention and regulation really know versus what they’re willing to say for a seat at the table.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal that I can link to but you probably can’t unless you’re a subscriber (and you should be):

Turning to the administration of President Barack Obama, Mr. Immelt expressed concern that new regulation would hinder a “tepid” U.S. economic recovery and complained about a “terrible” national mood, according to the FT.

So, according to the CEO of one of the largest manufacturing and service (think NBC) corporations in America, heavy regulation and government interference is hurting our ability to grow and expand overseas. And yet, you’ll find no bigger cheerleader (except BP until recently) for cap and trade. And you’ll find few larger contributors to the campaigns of cap and trade sponsors in D.C.

I’d like to go on and say something snide about GE but to be honest I can’t blame them. They’re reacting to incentives, and the incentives when government picks winners and losers is to pay enough to those who do the picking to make sure you’re a winner.

It’s not rocket science. Campaign finance reform and lobbying reform and any other attempts to take money out of the system is useless if it doesn’t address the root cause: If the government has the power to rob Peter to pay Paul, then both Peter and Paul have an incentive to bring money to the table…and they’ll always find a way. Remove government’s ability to pick winners and losers and neither of them will need to hire lobbyists or finance campaigns.

They’ll also be able to put those billions of dollars to productive use that will make them more competitive and provide better products and lower costs. Gee, what a concept.

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Cap-and-Trade Would Cut Thousands of Montana Jobs

Bozeman, Mont. — If pending federal climate change legislation is enacted, Montana would stand to lose between 4,964 and 6,761 jobs by 2030, according to a study released today by the Montana Policy Institute (MPI) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF).

The primary cause of job losses is lower industrial output due to higher energy prices, the high cost of complying with emissions cuts required by the legislation, and greater competition from overseas manufacturers. Among the hardest hit would be manufacturing jobs.

“As Congress considers far-reaching energy legislation that would impose an aggressive ‘cap-and-trade’ system, it’s important for us to examine what this means for Montana families and businesses,” said Carl Graham, president of the MPI. “It’s clear from these findings that the impact would be devastating for our economy – slashing jobs and reversing all the progress we’ve made, especially in the development of our state’s natural resources.”

The economic impact of this legislation on Montana is not isolated to jobs.

• By 2030, the average Montana family can expect the price of electricity to increase by up to 61 percent, gasoline 27 percent and natural gas 78 percent. Low income families and the elderly, who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on energy, will be especially hurt. Disposable income in Montana would fall by $414 to $764 in 2030.

• Under this legislation, Montana would experience a sharp decrease in manufacturing output, especially in nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing and primary metal manufacturing, important sectors for the Montana economy. The higher energy prices, fewer jobs and loss of industrial output under this legislation are estimated to reduce Montana’s gross state product (GSP) by as much as $900 million to $1.2 billion in 2030.

• State tax revenues would be reduced by as much as $65 million by 2030, forcing Montana policymakers to make hard choices about how to fund basic services, such as law enforcement, hospitals and schools.

Despite the current recession, recent employment figures demonstrate a promising trend. In the past ten years, employment in the Montana mining industry has grown 68.4 percent. In 2008, while the U.S. unemployment rate rose, Montana’s employment grew at a rate of 1.7 percent, and our state’s economy grew at a rate of 1.8 percent. If pending energy legislation were enacted, this continued growth would be impossible.

“Previous research about the impacts of this legislation on the national level found significant loss to gross domestic product. Montana, a state whose economy is tied to manufacturing and energy development, is particularly vulnerable to adverse impacts from this federal energy legislation,” said Margo Thorning, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief economist of the ACCF, who recently testified on Capitol Hill. “If pending federal energy legislation is enacted, the Montana economy will significantly decline and thousands of jobs will be lost.”

About the Study

The ACCF and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently conducted a macroeconomic study examining the impacts of this legislation on the U.S. economy. This study is a deeper examination of those initial findings specific to Montana. This analysis was undertaken using a version of the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS), the same tool used by the United States Energy Information Administration for its energy forecasting and policy analysis.

The study authors also explored both high- and low-cost scenarios to account for a wide range of assumptions regarding the likely cost and availability of new technologies, energy efficiency and renewable electricity standards, and domestic and international offsets.

This research examines the impact of H.R. 2454, known as Waxman-Markey, on Montana’s economy. Because the Senate version, (S. 1733) known as Kerry-Boxer, requires further emissions reductions, the economic impacts addressed in this research would be higher if that legislation were enacted.

This study is a joint project of the Montana Policy Institute (MPI) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF).

________________________________________

ACCF is a Washington, D.C.-based group which provides sound research to U.S. and international policymakers, the media and public. ACCF advocates for economic, regulatory and environmental policies that promote capital formation, economic growth and a higher standard of living for all.

The Montana Policy Institute is a nonpartisan policy research organization that equips Montana citizens and decision makers to better evaluate state public policy options from the perspective of free markets, limited government, individual rights and individual responsibility. To find out more visit us on the web at www.montanapolicy.org.

Contact:

Carl Graham

President

Montana Policy Institute

Phone : (406) 219-0508 Montana Policy Institute

67 W Kagy Blvd Ste. B

Bozeman, MT 59715

info@montanapolicy.org

Press Releas

Western Climate Initiative Cap-and-Trade

Economic research institute finds deficiencies in WCI’s analysis of impacts from recommendations.

 

Bozeman, Mont.—Specific proposals that several Western states would implement to comply with a proposed cap-and-trade carbon emissions control pact would destroy jobs and erode income, according to a report co-released by an economics institute.

In a thorough review of the claims made by the Western Climate Initiative, the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University identified several flaws made by the seven state consortium, calling into question so-called cost savings ranging between $11.4 billion and $23.5 billion. These flaws render WCI’s projections useless in determining the WCI’s cost to state economies.

The authors of the report write, “Using the Western Climate Initiative’s own projections of increases in fuel costs, BHI finds that the policies will decrease employment, investment, personal income and disposable income. While WCI claims the ‘design is also intended to mitigate economic impacts, including impacts on consumers, income, and employment,’ they fail to quantify the impacts.”

Seven states are full participants in WCI: Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Beacon Hill Institute found that WCI’s policy recommendations “would have substantial negative effects” on the economies of its member states. Under a scenario in which 100 percent of greenhouse gas emission permits would be auctioned off to emitters in a cap-and-trade scheme, BHI determined that the seven states:

* Would lose from 103,931 to 251,674 private sector jobs, while the permit revenue would allow the states to hire 57,269 to 142,241 state employees;

* Would put investment by firms at serious risk by slowing investment in the region by $548 million to $1,448 million;

* Would diminish total personal income, which would fall by $6.35 billion to $18.31 billion per year;

The proposals’ negative economic effects stem from the price and tax increases the states would impose on the energy and transportation sectors. Because a cap on carbon emissions is effectively a tax on energy production that is passed to industry, businesses and consumers, the effect is likely to drive commerce and jobs to other states or countries.

“The cap-and-trade program would increase input costs for producers located within WCI states, placing them at a competitive disadvantage to those outside the areas,” BHI noted. “The pressure would be especially acute for producers that utilize large amounts of energy in the production process, such as manufacturers.”

Beacon Hill found that none of the seven WCI states would escape economic harm should cap-and-trade be imposed. Montana could lose as many as 2,869 jobs and $689 million in personal income by the year 2020.

“This report shines the light on yet another example of political advocacy masquerading as scientific analysis,” said Carl Graham, president of the Montana Policy Institute. “Montanans deserve an honest look at the true long term costs and benefits of climate change measures before special interest groups and their politicians make decisions that will cost us our jobs, empty our pocketbooks, and dictate how we live our lives.”

 

The complete study is available at www.montanapolicy.org.

 

The Montana Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research center based in Bozeman. To find out more visit us on the web at www.montanapolicy.org.

 

Fiscal Accountability Press Release

Press Release

Lawmakers Asked to Target Stimulus Spending

With Montana on tap to receive around $600 million in federal stimulus dollars, a nonprofit Bozeman policy watchdog is asking lawmakers to pledge that one-time federal stimulus dollars will only be used on one-time spending projects.

“The danger,” according to Montana Policy Institute (MPI) president Carl Graham “is that these one-time stimulus dollars will come into the state budget and be used to create spending requirements that won’t end when the initial federal money has dried up.” He cited several potential examples, including hiring new full time employees, creating new subsidy or entitlement programs, or even permanent tax relief – something the fiscally conservative organization would normally applaud. If any of these things happen, according to Graham, future lawmakers will be put in a position of either having to raise taxes to support the new spending or making painful cuts to people and programs; something that MPI says is an unfair burden for current legislators to place on future generations.

MPI mailed the pledge, which can be found at www.montanapolicy.org, to lawmakers on February 10th. It notes that if this one-time money is spent wisely on one-time projects within the state it has the potential to address serious maintenance and infrastructure backlogs while injecting jobs and money into our economy. However, according to a letter accompanying the pledge, if the one-time dollars are spent in ways that create ongoing programs and obligations or in ways that don’t create jobs or increase productivity, it will just create hard decisions down the road without helping Montanans who are truly in need today. “That’s not fair to our citizens, to our children, or to our future lawmakers.” according to Graham.

MPI hopes to gain broad bipartisan support for the pledge and will publish results in early March.

 

 

The Montana Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research center based in Bozeman. To find out more visit us on the web at www.montanapolicy.org.