GOP Sen. Dave Lewis: “We Will Reluctantly Spend the (Stimulus) Money”

By Beacon Staff

The same day Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer outlined his plan for spending the $800 million in federal stimulus money, Republican Sen. Dave Lewis reported that he has received a “bunch of e-mail” asking that the Legislature give it back.

But Lewis makes a prediction on the Rotunda Report, the state GOP blog, in an entry titled, “Should We Give the Money Back?”:

My guess is that the need for more jobs is going to be hard to resist, and we will reluctantly spend the money. The challenge will be to make sure that any spending approved is one time only and does not require increased state spending in the future. All stimulus spending should be overseen by the public; we must be accountable to the people. Every county has important projects to be done that will save the local taxpayers money in the future.

However, Lewis points out that the Senate does have a few weeks to think about the bill while it’s in the House. He wonders:

What if the bill dies in the House? Hard to believe that could happen, but the House is split evenly so it will take a bi-partisan effort to move the bill.

Long shot. If that happened, it would certainly get ugly in Helena. Again, I don’t think it will. But I thought CHIP funding would sail through the Legislature.

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