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Policy Manual

Mountain States Policy Center's Policy Manual is a 200-page guide filled with facts, figures, research and more than 80 recommendations - an invaluable tool for current and future lawmakers, media and the general public. 


The manual offers citizens many practical ideas and hope for the future. It will provide media with background and research needed to improve accuracy. And it will offer policymakers of any political persuasion a go-to resource for navigating key issues facing the Mountain West, all rooted in proven, free market solutions. 


The Mountain States Policy Manual is structured to provide accessible and comprehensive information on a variety of policy areas. Each section has overviews of the issue, current challenges, policy recommendations, and case studies or examples of successful implementation. ​

Policy Manual


Chapter 1: Fiscal policy

  • Require a supermajority vote for state and local tax increases          

  • Use performance-based budgeting to focus on outcomes                

  • Adopt automatic tax rebates tied to revenue triggers                      

  • Use revenue triggers to reduce income tax rates                           

  • Move local tax levies and bonds to November general election          

  • Idaho’s controversial grocery tax                                                  

  • Sugary beverage taxes are poor public policy                                 

  • Adopt a 30-day work requirement for income tax liability                  

  • End taxpayer subsidies to government unions                                 

  • Support efforts to require federal balanced budget amendment        

  • Support efforts to call fiscally focused Convention of the states  

Chapter 2: Tax transparency

  • Create a Tax Transparency website                          

  • Adopt Truth in Taxation to improve property tax accountability          

  • Use taxpayer receipt to provide snapshot of government spending     

  • End political messaging on taxpayer refund checks                          

  • Prevent overcollection for school district bond payments    


Chapter 3: Governance                                                              

  • Provide at least 3-day notice of bills scheduled for public hearing       

  • Provide details of policies under consideration                            

  • Authorize an open government ombudsman                     

  • Require legislative oversight of emergency powers                   

  • Prohibit secret negotiations with public sector unions               

  • Consider open primaries without imposing Ranked Choice Voting      

  • Authorize a statewide voters’ guide      

  • Do not join the National Popular Vote compact     

Chapter 4: Education

  • Spending more does not equal better outcomes    

  • Focus education funding on results      

  • Put the principal in charge of the school        

  • Provide students and families with Education Savings Accounts or education choice tax credits

  • Adopt the Public School Transparency Act                

  • Increase the availability of public charter schools      

  • Adopt the College Career Transparency Act     


Chapter 5: Economic & Business Climate

  • Pillars of regulatory reform and oversight                              

  • Adopt sunset provisions                                                       

  • Embrace occupational licensing reform                         

  • Use competition to reduce workers’ compensation costs        

  • Avoid costly minimum wage increases                                   

  • Reduce wait times for building permits                       

  • Review impact fees for legal validity                         

  • Advance market options to improve housing affordability                

  • Provide constitutional protections for the Right to Work                

Chapter 6: Health care                                                               

  • Require health care price transparency                                         

  • Make telemedicine permanent                                  

  • Don’t expand the Hospital 340B program without reforms first        

  • Reduce health insurance mandates, offer more insurance options    

  • Abolish certificate of need requirements       

  • Reject further Medicaid expansion                            

  • Expand use and availability of Health Savings Accounts         


Chapter 7: Technology & Innovation      

  • Use AI to improve government efficiency, save taxpayer money        

  • Protect the internet from misguided “net neutrality” efforts         

  • Expand broadband coverage in a responsible way                     

  • Be wary of constitutionally suspect content filter policies              

Chapter 8: Agriculture                                   

  • Minimize the regulatory burden imposed on farmers    

  • Protect agricultural water uses and water storage          

  • Balance land development, property rights with necessity of land for food production

  • Agricultural labor needs to be accessible   

  • Taxes should not unfairly favor or punish farmers   

  • Protect the ability of small farms to thrive        

Chapter 9: Land Use & the Environment                                              

  • Protect the numerous benefits of the Snake River dams       

  • Work to restore more state control over federal land             

  • Demand higher federal PILT reimbursements                   

  • Support prescribed burns to help manage forests  

  • Avoid trendy policies that have little environmental benefit       


Chapter 10: Transportation                                                          

  • Three keys for responsible transportation spending                  

  • The most efficient and effective mass transit options                 

  • Adopt Truth in Labeling for gas taxes                                     

  • Avoid adopting a mileage tax                                            

  • Resist stifling rideshare regulations


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