With marijuana legalization and pension reform on Montana’s policy agenda, the Reason Foundation provided some suggestions to the state legislature about how to best utilize the tax revenues the state gets.

 Reason’s policy experts provided testimony on Montana’s proposed recreational marijuana bill, House Bill 670. Their comments to the Taxation Committee suggested that marijuana tax revenues be used to pay down pension debt and noted HB 670 wisely aims to “pay for obligations already on the books, while avoiding adding future obligations via new programmatic spending.”

Reason Foundation is an extension of Reason Magazine, published since 1968 advocating “free minds and free markets” covering politics, culture, and ideas through news, analysis, commentary, and reviews from a libertarian perspective.

 Reason’s experts have helped a number of states establish and improve medical and recreational marijuana markets, putting together best practices and recommendations to help lawmakers create safe and fair marijuana regulations. Likewise, their pension analysts have developed gold standards outlining how states can update public pension systems to something more sustainable for employees and taxpayers.  

Reason Foundation’s solvency analysis of the Montana Public Employee Retirement System finds that under typical economic conditions over the next few decades the pension system’s $2.1 billion in debt could grow to $4 billion—doubling the amount Montana expects to spend on the pension plan over the next 30 years. The study also shows how overly-optimistic investment return assumptions are driving the debt, adding $1.3 billion in unfunded liabilities to MPERS since 2001.

Similarly, Reason’s recent analysis of the Montana Teacher Retirement System details why the pension plan serving the state’s educators has nearly $2 billion in debt and only 68 cents of every dollar needed to pay for its promised retirement benefits.


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