Thursday, June 21, 2012

I-166 misguided

Posted on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 4:00 AM

I have read small business owners support Initiative 166, which supposedly is going to keep large national corporations from, in the words of our governor, stealing our government.

I-166 supporters’ intent may be to keep out-of-state corporate money out of Montana politics, but the actual effect of the initiative’s passage will have far-reaching and devastating consequences for Montana’s farmers, ranchers and other small business owners.

We may well succeed in denying free speech to groups of Montanans, but I-166 will have little effect on billionaires like George Soros who have a battery of lawyers on call to protect their rights.

I-166 would establish “a state policy that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings, and charges Montana elected and appointed officials, state and federal, to implement that policy.” If it passes, this will become Montana law and be enforced against Montanans, but it will not change the U.S. Constitution or affect major national or international corporations in any way.

Ninety-nine out of 100 Montana businesses, including small farms and ranches, are incorporated. We incorporate to share the proceeds of our enterprise with our family or business partners and to protect them from punitive taxes and regulations.

As a group of folks forced to incorporate for our protection, why should we be denied the same rights we have as individuals?

If we lose those rights, we lose due process, the legal means to protect our property and our family’s future. If you are a Montana business owner and support I-166, you are bringing the rope to your own hanging.

Jake Cummins

Montana Farm Bureau Federation

Bozeman

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