Opinion

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Letter

Bullock Looks to Cash in Politically with I-185

If I-185 passes, the negative effects of this initiative will ripple through Montana’s economy

Across the United States, Democrats are moving to the radical left at a rapid pace. Your grandfather’s Democratic Party has been subverted by those looking to fundamentally change the basic tenets of this nation and, ultimately, what made us so great. The left is teetering on dangerous ground. Socialism, gun confiscation and open borders were once fringe ideas but now have become common beliefs within this new Democratic Party.

Gov. Steve Bullock’s consideration to run for President of the United States has started to move his policy opinions to the far left. These politically motivated policies threaten Montana’s economy and our state budget. If the last few months are any indication, the Democratic nominee for President will hold the more radical views of this new Democratic Party. To the detriment of Montanans, it’s not surprising that Bullock is currently looking to expand his leftist resume to increase his viability as a presidential candidate among a changing and radicalized Democratic primary base.

That’s why Bullock has begun to be a vocal proponent of radical ideas like banning guns and gutting the Second Amendment.

It’s not just at the national stage either. Bullock’s sharp turn to the left is having policy consequences in Montana. A case in point is Bullock’s push to pass I-185, which would permanently lock in Montana’s Medicaid expansion program. I-185 is one step closer to the budget-busting universal health care program being championed by Bernie Sanders and other Democratic Socialists.

Passing this initiative is exactly what Bullock needs to show progressive East Coast and California donors that he has the far-left credentials to receive national support from the Democratic voting base.

The problem is, Bullock isn’t being honest about I-185. In a recent interview, Bullock said, “If I-185 fails to pass the ballot initiative we’re going to be in for a tough (2019 legislative) session.” He implied that without I-185, Montana will face even more budget cuts than the last special session. This statement is highly misleading. The Legislative Fiscal Division recently reported that Montana is likely to see a $134 million surplus. Bullock has no reason to be worried about cuts, but he needs I-185 to pass to grab another $74 million to grow government.

This is political maneuvering at its worst. Governor Bullock is using deceitful scare tactics to urge Montanans to raise taxes. Not because the state is in a budgetary crisis, but rather so that Bullock, in his quest to become president, has more taxpayer dollars to grow the size of government and court the support of big-government liberals across the nation.

The truth is, I-185 is a massive tax increase. This initiative would make the Obama-Bullock Medicaid expansion program permanent and eliminate the Legislature’s ability to control costs. If I-185 passes, it would create a $34 million unfunded liability that all Montanans would be stuck paying for. Most concerning, Medicaid expansion is nearly twice as expensive as it was expected to be just three years ago. I-185 would help Bullock politically, but would hurt all Montana taxpayers.

Bullock can use I-185 and its millions in new revenue to fund a far-left agenda and promote his presidential campaign. Tax increases, unfunded liabilities, and out-of-control costs are dismissible collateral damage to our governor. As a state, we cannot allow a partisan presidential candidate to trick us into giving up more of our money to help aid in his quest for the White House.

If I-185 passes, the negative effects of this initiative will ripple through Montana’s economy long after the 2020 presidential election. Don’t let Bullock use taxpayers as pawns to run for president. Vote no on I-185.

Sen. Scott Sales
R-Bozeman