Republicans’ Plan for Montana’s Future

Montana is experiencing a sagging state economy

Welcome to a new year and a new legislative session. With our eyes toward Montana’s future, we are hopeful that the next 90 days will bring badly needed changes. We must put our state back on a path toward economic stability that creates greater opportunities for all Montanans.

This November, the people of Montana sent a strong message to Helena: we are ready for a change in the way our state is run. And with a legislative session ahead that will be largely focused on the budget this will be critical for all Montanans.

In our time serving Montana in the Legislature, we’ve watched the state budget surplus squandered away from more than $500 million in 2011, to $300 million in 2015 to nearly nothing today.

Montana is one of the lucky states that has a balanced-budget requirement included in our state Constitution. This means that Montana has to function like a business or a household when deciding on spending – we can’t spend more than we take in.

Montana is experiencing a sagging state economy due to record low agriculture commodity prices, lower than projected oil prices, a decimated coal industry and a non-existent timber industry. Due to poor management and excessive regulations, Montana doesn’t have the revenue needed to cover basic costs.

To make matters worse, the size of state government has continued to grow, while revenues decline. We’ve experienced 12 years of increasing spending and new government programs that have added well over 1,000 new state employees to the payroll. Unfortunately, this has created a reality where there is no extra money in the state’s reserves.

As a result, Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature all see the writing on the wall – this will be a belt-tightening session. There is very little room for new programs, and a lot of important areas that must be addressed.

This includes a serious focus on essential infrastructure projects. With many areas in the state still waiting for necessary water and sewer fixes, infrastructure will be a major issue this session – as is has been for our caucus in the past three sessions. Republicans, once again, are committed to passing a basic infrastructure package.

Even under these circumstances, we are hopeful that the tide will turn on the irresponsible spending of the past and lead Montana toward a better future with more opportunities for all of us. By being a check on the governor’s spending and expanding government, we can turn things around.

But Montanans – we want to hear from you. Contact your legislator, write to your local paper, tell us what you need. We were sent here to Helena to serve you, and that is what we plan to do.

Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen
Majority Leader Ron Ehli

  • Dave_Skinner

    Where’s that new, clean, green, sustainable, human-powered-recreation economy that’s supposed to save us?

    • Perrico de los Palotes

      Just out of curiosity, what do you think will happen to all your parks & forests when White people are gone?

      • Hard truth

        Who pays welfare when the White people are gone, PARACITO?

      • Caddisfly

        93% of the people in Montana are white, so where are we going.

    • Carla Augustad

      Good question.

  • geraldcuvillier

    Well Dave, if you try to recreate in the federally controlled forest you will find more road closures and burned up forest. That economy went up in smoke.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Disappointed that this is just talking points and misinformation.

    Please offer comprehensive plans backed with actual data, rather than this.

  • Christopher Cunningham

    Though I appreciate the sentiment of wanting to hear from people, why should I write in when my representatives in Helena already disagree with me on most issues and won’t be changing their minds about those matters regardless of what I or 1/3 of other locals write?

  • Gene Dziza

    I just read an article on CNBC that stated we have the third cheapest in-state college tuition in the nation. Let’s make sure we keep it that way.

  • Caddisfly

    Translation, shift more wealth to the haves, take it from the have not’s. Typical republican rhetoric.

    • Snowbird

      I hear north dakota is nice fyi

      • Caddisfly

        I spent a year and a half in North Dakota working, it really sucks. I could get used to the flat landscape, the brutally cold winters the hot dry summers, and even the wind, but I could never get used to the people. They are a bunch of budlight swilling, cigarette smoking, drug abusing, teabagger, racist a-holes. And by the way Snowbird, are you a Montana or Arizona resident, I am a Montanan born and raised who pays his taxes, runs a business, owns a home and participates in our political process. Most of the “snowbirds” I know have changed state residency to save on taxes, are you one of those. So before you invite me to leave my state or country, as you teabaggers do, just make sure you have your own house in order.

        • Snowbird

          You are right, I was wrong to make that very stupid comment and I apologize to you
          Im an Arizonan, and own a home in Bigfork for last 10 years and live there 7 months of the year, and I have a great love for Montana and the people of Montana.
          Im sorry for mKing that remark. I had intended it to be funny, not offensive, but in retrospect, it was offensive.
          Ive never been to north dakota, but after hearing your description of it, I wont be putting it on my bucket list!!!

          • Richard Jones

            Just being the condescending a$$hole you are, again.

    • reggiewhitefish

      Yeah, and lower their taxes….again.

      Will any Republicans defend their failed “supply side economics theory? Or is Hurray for the rich, god bless the rich, anything for the rich, all they have to say?

      • Perrico de los Palotes

        Now just say “rich” = “Jews” & I actually agree with you.

        • Caddisfly

          Your parents sure beat that into , I mean really beat you with a club, because it caused severe brain damage.

  • Rhett the Butler

    This is a good read in response to the above.

  • disqus_123ragnorok

    Question is…what’s the plan? Eco-tourism? Service based economy, serving the needs of the wealthy, part time vacationers?
    We could responsibly use the resources we have, to provide good paying jobs for locals, while supplying necessary goods to the country. They don’t call this the treasure state for no reason.