An anti-business attitude in Montana has hindered economic growth. We have an uncompetitive tax structure that places an inordinate burden on business, undue regulation, and a plague of frivolous environmental litigation. And a preponderance of legislation from this year’s legislative session would have just made our situation worse.
Montana currently ranks 47th in the nation in average annual wages, down from 34th in 1980. We rank 49th in median household income – by comparison Wyoming ranks 23rd, Idaho 26th, South Dakota 35th, and North Dakota 40th. The median household income in Wyoming is 21% higher than in Montana.
So why is Montana having economic trouble when our neighbors are doing comparably better?
A large part of the problem is that for years we’ve been victim to a comprehensive effort by anti-business forces to gain political power. They’ve invested over $1 million in developing their political base over the last few election cycles; they’ve registered over 20,000 new voters; and one of their chief groups, the Montana Conservation Voters, boasts a 78% success rate in legislative elections.
These groups are well-intentioned, but their agenda has had negative impacts on our business climate. Perhaps the worst impact they’ve had is to create the public perception that business interests are inherently negative, a perception that pervades a large cross-section of the Montana electorate.
MBLC is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)6 business league designed to reverse the negative attitudes towards business and improve the overall economic climate in Montana.
To do this, we have two objectives:
1) Educate the public on business issues in order to increase awareness of the problems that have made Montana uncompetitive.
2) Increase the pro-business voting base though grassroots development.
Public perception does not happen by accident; it must be cultivated through a sustained education effort. Through issue-advocacy advertising, MBLC has the ability to present the truth to the Montana public on which policies are working; and which are bad for business. We also need to make sure Montanans are making the connection between economic growth and high-paying jobs. If we continue to allow the anti-business forces to present their side of the story unchecked, we allow them to set the agenda in the minds of the Montana public.