September 23, 2014 Print

Vilnius, Lithuania-based Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) was named one of eight finalists for this year’s prestigious Templeton Freedom Award for its Municipal Performance Index for Freedom and Free Enterprise. To build the case for policy change at the local government level, in 2011 LFMI designed and launched its Municipal Performance Index to measure and rank the performance of municipal governments in three overarching categories: municipalities for citizens, municipalities for investors, and municipal governance and administration.

LFMI President Zilvinas Silenas said, “The performance index is an easy self-evaluation tool for municipalities. As a byproduct of the index, we have been able to go to various cities and meet mayors, local entrepreneurs, and citizens to discuss issues and solutions related to their schools, taxes or debts. So we not only present our self-evaluation tool, we actually help them to be clearly heard.”

The methodology of the index comprised 55 indicators and anchored the evaluation criteria in the underlying values of freedom of choice, private ownership and initiative, free enterprise, efficient use of public resources, and transparent and accountable governance. LFMI carried out exhaustive research to develop and compile the municipality index and used it as a basis to frame a plan for needed policy change.

Thus, alongside the municipality rankings, the index yielded a solid, evidence-based framework and benchmark for municipal policy reform that gave a new credibility to free market approaches, including consumer choice, private service delivery, tax cuts, reduction of government regulations and bureaucracy, privatization of municipal assets, and balanced budgets.

Since the launch of the Index, LFMI met with the municipal authorities of all major Lithuanian cities – Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai, Panevezys – and visited numerous smaller cities. During such visits, LFMI met with local authorities, citizens, students, businesses, and the media.

LFMI President Zilvinas Silenas said, “All these meetings helped to build up relationships both with authorities and local people.”

Awarded since 2004, the Templeton Freedom Award is named for the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. The award annually honors his legacy by identifying and recognizing the most exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise, and the public policies that encourage prosperity, innovation and human fulfillment via free competition. The award is generously supported by Templeton Religion Trust and will be presented during Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner gala dinner ceremony Nov. 13, 2014 in New York City. The winning organization will receive a $100,000 prize and the runners-up will receive $5,000.

The 2014 Templeton Freedom Award Finalists are:

Acton Institute: Acton University
CEPOS (Center For Political Studies): Private Property Project
Civismo: Low Taxes Campaign for Spain Campaign
Foundation For Government Accountability: Initiative to Limit Medicaid Expansion
Goldwater Institute: Education Savings Accounts
Illinois Policy Institute: Stopping an Unfair Progressive Income Tax
IPEA: One Million Youth for Mexico Campaign
Lithuanian Free Market Institute: Municipal Performance Index

The 2013 Templeton Freedom Award winner and finalists can be found here.

For media inquiries about the 2014 Templeton Freedom Award, contact Daniel Anthony.