Each year Libertas Institute works on over 50 significant policy issues spanning a wide range of topics. While our short-term efforts result in an unprecedented 77% success rate for being enacted into law, we keep our eyes fixed on long-term goals that will profoundly improve the lives and livelihoods of Utahns. Below are a few examples.
- Amend the Utah Constitution to protect property rights
The state constitution says you have the right to “acquire, possess and protect property,” but doesn’t guarantee your ability to actually use said property. We think it’s critical to protect the peaceful use of property in order to check the power of cities and counties to regulate away that right for basically any reason they desire.
- Abolish the State Income Tax
An income tax treats people as property and presumes to allow people to enjoy their wealth only after the government has first taken its share. We aim to abolish the state income tax and substitute it with a consumption-based tax where those being taxed are voluntarily engaging in an exchange that they know will be subject to the tax.
- Significantly Reduce Occupational Licensure
The growth of the regulatory state has dramatically increased the number of professions for which a person must first obtain a permission slip prior to legally working. This restriction on the right to labor in an occupation of one’s choosing must be limited only to those few professions where enough risk for harm exists to justify it.
- Refuse Federal Money
Roughly one quarter of Utah’s budget relies on federal funds. We cannot effectively object to federal mandates and restrictions until we wean ourselves off of the federal teat. The state must readjust its fiscal properties in order to begin reducing, and ultimately eliminating, financial support from the federal government.
- Repeal Compulsory Education
Utah law criminalizes students and their parents when a child is not in school as mandated by law. This violation of parental rights substitutes family planning with state coercion, undermining the desires and goals of Utah parents and their children. Compulsory education is antithetical to a free society.
- Repeal Victimless Crimes
The pursuit of justice first requires the infringement of an individual’s life, liberty, or property by another. When no party is directly harmed, the government has no moral authority to punish an individual. Prohibitions and punishments that lack this basic criteria must be eliminated from the law.
- Legalize Medical Freedom
Sick and suffering Utahns are currently criminalized by the same government that purportedly exists to protect them. Patients are not criminals, and therefore the law must change to allow them to seek medical treatments that can improve their lives without worrying about being fined, incarcerated, or having their children taken.
- Privatize Liquor Stores
The government has no business owning and operating liquor stores (or stores of any type); competing against private industry violates the principle of a free market and the basic language of the Utah Constitution. The law must be changed in order to privatize the distribution and sale of liquor.
- Eliminate Civil Asset Forfeiture
“Innocent until proven guilty” is a basic tenet of the criminal justice system, but one that does not apply to one’s property under forfeiture law. Policies that allow property to be taken from individuals who haven’t even been charged with a crime must be reformed and ultimately repealed to ensure due process and fairness.
The government has no legitimate authority to choose winners and losers in the marketplace, even if done with the hope that such actions will provide more employment or taxation revenue in the long term. As such, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development must be shuttered to protect a free market.