Rick Hill’s Intellectual Dishonesty About Montana Business


Today, Delaware-based businessman Rick Hill posted a chart and explanatory text on his campaign web site, alleging that Montana has a poor climate for business.

Hill claims that Montana needs his kind of regulation:

Make no mistake, Montana has a tremendous amount of potential for job creation.  However, as a result of some self-imposed barriers, job growth has stagnated.  It’s our adverse legal climate, our unproductive regulatory environment, our uncompetitive employment laws, our higher-than-average insurance costs, and our anti-business reputation that keep Montana’s economy down.

Of course, a careful look at his chart reveals that Hill is wrong. The state in the region with the most job loss? Idaho—which has long been dominated by a radical Republican super-majority which has stripped regulations to the bone and effectively gutted the rights of workers. The net result? A 3% increase in unemployment and a budget crisis:

Idaho legislators might be facing a more extreme budget situation than expected.
By 2012 the state’s deficit could reach $185 million, according to House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, rather than the $35 million Gov. Butch Otter announced earlier this month.

Idaho’s not alone.

Arizona? The worst budget deficit in the nation. Wyoming? Deficits and air quality that’s worse than that of Los Angeles.

While unemployment is certainly a concern for those interested in workers, Montana has largely weathered the storm of the recession better than many states in the nation.

But Hill’s dishonesty doesn’t end there. The very day he’s decrying “our adverse legal climate,” he’s trying to win a Montana Supreme Court case that would invalidate a contract he signed before making an incredibly unwise investment—precisely the kind of decision that Hill thinks hurts the business climate.

Hill’s wrong about Montana—and he’s wrong about regulation. Our state leadership during a recession has been incredibly successful, and effective regulation and government oversight have been a large part of that success.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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