By Ron VandenBoom
Stan Jones, Libertarian candidate for governor said in a recent interview that getting government out of the way is the single most important thing Montana can do to attract economic development and raise per capita income.
"The reason we have such a mediocre economy in this state is because the taxes and regulations in this state are far to high and cumbersome for businesses to establish themselves."
Jones, who was excluded from the recent gubernatorial debate in Great Falls between Democratic candidate, Mark O'Keefe and Republican, Judy Martz, protested outside the debate hoping to get his message out to the people.
He said that over the last eight years of the Racicot/Martz administration spending has increased every year with no economic results.
"And now both candidates claim they will be able to create jobs with even more government programs," he said. "The fact of the matter is, government can't create jobs and government cannot improve the economy. The only way we are going to solve our economic problems is to create the kind of business environment that will attract businesses."
Jones said getting government out of the way should be Montana's number one priority.
"We need to eliminate the tax on business assets completely and we need to eliminate the heavy industrial insurance requirement in the state," he said. "When in the world did it become a function of government to insure workers or to force businesses to insure workers?"
Jones said that insurance should be an agreement between workers and their employers and not a function of government.
"Workers in this state are not a bunch of dumb puppets that can't decide for themselves," Jones said.
"This state would attract businesses like a magnet," he said. "They would come flocking in here because we have an extremely positive physical environment. "
Jones said he also advocates eliminating all income taxes noting that in the final analysis taxes are a property rights issue.
"Every time we pass a law violating property rights of the wealthy, or of a big corporation, we have set a precedent," he said. "And pretty soon that precedence starts stretching further and further down."
He said that in 1913 when the first income tax came into effect, the people were told it was only going to affect a very small percent of the very rich.
"Those people who were affected didn't have enough votes to defeat it," he said. "And look where we are today. It's totally out of control. The average American is paying 47 percent of their earning to federal, state, and local government and a significant amount more than that in the goods and services that they buy."
Jones said it's staggering to think of how prosperous life could be and how many jobs would be created if all that money wasn't going to government.
Legislative Referendum 116, which will eliminate the state sales tax on new motor vehicles and reduce taxes on light vehicles, would seem tailor made for Jones, but for Libertarians, it doesn't go far enough, Jones said.
Jones said the Libertarian position is to finance what government is needed through user fees. "Those that use the services, pay for the services," he said.
Highways, Jones said, could be paid for by a combination of gas taxes and toll roads. He then took Libertarian logic one step further and advocated the abolition of driver and vehicle licenses.
"Imagine how ridiculous it would have been back in the 1860s to have told someone they had to place a license on the back of their wagon or a brand on their horse to show they have the government's permission to use that horse and pull that wagon through the streets. And to take a test to prove to the government they knew how to properly mount and dismount a horse."