Beacon Hill Institute

Beacon Hill Institute

 Background

The Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy Research was founded in 1991 by the Republican politician Ray Shamie.

Beacon Hill describes itself as “Grounded in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets”

The Institute conducts economic research and conducts educational programs “for the purpose of producing and disseminating readable analysis of current public policy issues to voters, taxpayers, opinion leaders and policy makers.” [1]

It has recently received money from conservative foundations such as the Castle Rock Foundation (funded by Coors), and the Lynd and Harry Bradley Foundation

David G. Tuerck is the Executive Director of the Beacon Hill Institute and is the former director of the Center for Research and Advertising at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Stance on Climate Change

The BHI Blog generally publishes opinion pieces that suggest a free-market approach to dealing with climate change:

“The only way to slow global warming is to allow entrepreneurs to create more energy-efficient products and technologies. As the demand for these products grows, entrepreneurs will naturally react to market forces and direct their energies to producing more energy-efficient products at a cheaper cost. Government intervention is not the solution to this problem, the free market is.” [7]

 Funding

According to Media Matters, Beacon Hill's funding is as follows: [2]

 

Media Transparency also lists the following contributions to Beacon Hill from 1998 to 2006: [3]

 

According to publicly available 990 forms, The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has given the Suffolk University $209,697 for “educational programs” in 2010, $136,771 in 2009, and $97,236 in 2008 for a total of $443,704. It is reasonable to deduce that some of this money went to fund the Beacon Hill Institute. [8]

Key People

 Actions

September 21, 2012

The Beacon Hill Institute and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy co-released a study that threatens to stall Michigan's Proposal 3 which proposes to increase the state's use of renewable energy sources including wind and solar 25% by 2025. The study, titled “The Projected Economic Impact of Proposal 3 and Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard” (PDF), was authored by Beacon Hill Executive Director David Tuerck, Paul Bachman, and Michael Head.

The study was commissioned by the American Tradition Institute (ATI), a group associated with the State Policy Network (SPN). The Mackinac Center, ATI and the SPN have all received funding from Koch sources. According to Jeff Deyette, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Beacon hill analysts:  [9]

 

  • Excluded the cost cap, a key component of the policy;
  • Ignored the fact that the state already has a standard in place, enabling them to inflate the costs of implementing the stronger standard;
  • Made assumptions about renewable energy technologies, often citing out-of-date, controversial or unsubstantiated material to support their assertions instead of using real-world cost and performance data from local projects; 
  • And failed to factor in the new standard's benefits, including economic development, job growth, cleaner air and reduced carbon pollution.

 

Beacon Hill Institute research economist Michael Head admitted to the Washington Post that he had excluded the cost caps in their analysis:

“We just left it out so we could provide the actual analysis of the policy itself,” Head said, adding that the central question is not whether renewable energy costs more but “the matter of degree. You’re certainly going to have these higher electricity prices. They will have profound negative consequences for the states’ economies.” [10]

Head also admitted that the studies had been behind the funding for the studies, although he said that “Koch certainly has not had the only role in funding these studies” – this suggests that other anonymous donors were also involved.

 

May 21 - 23, 2012

The Beacon Hill Institute is listed as an official Co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

January, 2008

The John Locke Foundation (JLF) commissioned a “peer review” by the Beacon Hill Institute of a report by the North Carolina Climate Action Plan Advisory Group (NC-CAPAG) and an accompanying jobs analysis from Appalachian State University. [4]

According to the press release, “The peer review raises red flags about the model’s projections.” JLF Vice President for Research Roy Cordato said that “Trained economists conducting this new peer review found that the model is so flawed that no one should trust the results.” [5]

DeSmogBlog speculated that the self-proclaimed “peer-review” appeared to be done entirely within the Beacon Hill Institute and without outside input.

Related Organizations

Beacon Hill lists the following clients on their website: [6]

  • Alabama Policy Institute
  • Altria Corporation
  • American Council on Education
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of Connecticut
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts
  • AT&T Foundation
  • Center of the American Experiment
  • Commonwealth Foundation
  • CSE Foundation
  • DCI Group
  • Egan Family Foundation
  • Ernst &Young
  • Flint Hills Center for Public Policy
  • Heritage Foundation
  • Institute for Policy Innovation
  • KPMG Peat Marwick
  • Maine Public Policy Institute
  • Manhattan Institute
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Mississippi Center for Public Policy
  • New England Cable Television Association
  • New Hampshire Commission to Assess the Operating Efficiency of State Government
  • New Hampshire First
  • Oklahoma Office of State Finance
  • Pacific Research Institute
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Quincy Medical Center
  • Rio Grande Foundation
  • Roe Foundation
  • Small Business Survival Committee
  • State of Oklahoma
  • Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy
  • United States Agency for International Development
  • Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, Inc.
  • Zeron Foundation

 Resources

  1. Mission and Vision,” The Beacon Hill Institute. Accessed December, 2011.

  2. Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy Research,” Media Matters. Accessed December, 2011.

  3. Beacon Hill Institute: Media Transparency Profile.

  4. Unlocking One Think Tank's Oily Secrets,” PR Watch, November 15, 2007.

  5. Press Releases: N.C. energy policy model 'not credible',” John Locke Foundation, January 9, 2008.

  6. Clients,” The Beacon Hill Institute. Accessed December, 2011.

  7. Solution lies in the free market system,” The Boston Globe, August 8, 2008.

  8. Foundation Center 990 Finder, EIN 48-0918408. Performed February 10, 2013. 

  9. Fact Check: Koch-Funded Group Misleads Michigan Voters on Clean Energy,” The Equation (Union of Concerned Scientists Blog), October 5, 2012. ], [Elliott Negin. “Koch Brothers Fund Bogus Studies to Kill Renewable Energy,” Huffington Post, December 7, 2012.

  10. Climate skeptic group works to reverse renewable energy mandates,” The Washington Post, November 24, 2012. 

  11. Beacon Hill Institute,” SourceWatch Profile.

  12. Wikipedia Profile.