North Dakota is the freest state in the U.S., followed closely by South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma, according to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University's third annual "Freedom in the 50 States." Idaho was ranked sixth.
The scores are based upon the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose on their victims, in terms of fiscal policy, regulatory policy and personal freedom.
Montana came in twelfth, ranking highest in fiscal freedom (7th), 23rd in personal freedom and 35th in regulatory freedom. The state had a two point drop over its 2009 rating.
A recent Gallup survey concluded that Alabama is the most conservative state (50.6 percent of people surveyed identified themselves as such).
Massachusetts was the most liberal (at 30.5 percent), excluding Washington DC, which far exceeded all states as most liberal (40.8 percent).
The Northern Yellowstone Cooperative Wildlife Working Group conducted its annual winter survey of the northern Yellowstone elk population on February 18. The survey, using three airplanes, was conducted by staff from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the National Park Service. Staff counted 3,915 elk, including 915 elk (23%) inside Yellowstone National Park and 3,000 elk (77%) elsewhere north of the park. Survey conditions were favorable across the region.
The count of 3,915 elk during the 2013 winter season was six percent lower than the 2012 winter count of 4,174. Looking back further, between the winters of 2007 and the end of winter 2011, elk numbers ranged from 4,635 to 7,109.
The MSU Family Business Program "On the Road" will be in Billings on May 11, at MSU Billings, 3-5 p.m. "Understanding the Future Customer" will be presented by James Oakley, associate professor of marketing in the College of Business at MSU. The event is free and is presented in 11 Montana Communities, courtesy of sponsor, State Farm Insurance.
Oakley's program will focus on the changing landscape of customer interaction in the marketplace.
Montana now has an official transparency portal where citizens can track their tax dollars, including who got paid what and why. The portal is at www.transparency.mt.gov.
"The state website came as a complete surprise, albeit a nice one," said Carl Graham, whose organization, Montana Policy Institute, (MPI) fought long and hard to get such a site. A successful bill, which would have done so, during the last legislative session was vetoed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer. MPI later fought a successful court battle against the state, to get the public information needed to launch their own site, www.opengovmt.org. MPI may be able to close its site, now, hinted Graham.
In an attempt to protect their pension funds, taxpayers and financial stability, the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia have joined a major lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
These states are asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to join the suit in order to challenge the validity of the Orderly Liquidation Authority, established under Title II of Dodd-Frank. If permitted, these states would join the three states already in the lawsuit—Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Michigan — as well as three private plaintiffs: the State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas; the 60 Plus Association; and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103