On Nov. 2, 2010, Montanans overwhelmingly spoke out against the out-of-touch Obama agenda. A rollback of these overreaching policies is necessary and conservatives will use a common sense approach to address endless government growth. For the first time since 2003, Republicans have majorities in both the state House and Senate. As leadership of the 62nd Legislature, we will return our state to fiscal responsibility, ensure that spending is controlled so that we live within our means, and put forward policies that foster job growth and economic opportunity.
Republican legislators will focus on jumpstarting our local, state and regional economies. We need to show that Montana is a place of opportunity by reforming taxes for individuals and businesses while reducing the bureaucratic red tape that hampers job growth. As stewards of our natural resources, we recognize that all our resources can be developed responsibly to benefit all Montanans. The Legislature needs to get government out of the way of responsible development while ensuring that our environment is protected for future generations. Unfortunately, we have seen extreme environmentalists forcibly stop good projects from going forward through misuse of the courts. We need to make sure these out-of-state obstructionists and D.C. bureaucrats no longer stand in the way of progress.
While many job-creating projects have been shut down, state government has continued to grow exponentially both in its size and reach. It is time for solutions in both the short and long term to address the bloated size of government. Reducing the budget for the next biennium will ensure short-term stability. In the long term, we need to re-examine the budgeting process. We will establish a policy that examines the efficiency and effectiveness of every government program. The first step towards accountable and transparent long-term budgeting is to place the state’s checkbook online so the Montana taxpayer will have the opportunity to see where every dollar is being spent.
We need to reign in reckless government spending, reduce waste and provide opportunities for the private sector instead of funding rapid expansion of government payrolls. Montana families are facing difficult times and must live within their means – state government should be no different. Cutting budgets means making tough choices, but because of the rapid growth in government over the past six years, these choices have become even more difficult.
The continuing success of the American experiment relies on the power of the individual, not government. It is time to stop depending on big government to bail us out when times get tough. Creating opportunities for innovative ideas, job creation and protecting individual prosperity will lead us to a more secure future. Over the next ninety days, we will work together to ensure that a smaller government, subject to checks and balances from a legislature representing the people, allows opportunity for private sector job creation, sustained economic prosperity and greater individual freedom.
Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann (R-Billings)
House Majority Leader Tom McGillvray (R-Billings)
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