The values that the Democrats and Republicans are talking about this session should lead to some common ground:
Governor Schweitzer is focused on higher paying jobs. So are Sen. Carol Williams of Missoula, the Senate Minority Leader, and Rep. Jon Sesso of Butte, the House Minority Leader, who co-wrote a guest editorial that highlighted the economic climate that brings higher paying jobs.
From the opinion in today’s IR:
We see a state that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked No. 1 for entrepreneurs and business start-ups. We see a state that Forbes magazine called one of the fastest climbers among business-friendly states. We see a state with the fastest growing oil production in the nation. We see a state that just opened its first new coal mine in 29 years, producing 235 good jobs. In Butte, we’re proud of the new foundry and 60 workers that are making titanium parts for customers around the world.
Meanwhile, however, the GOP message is all over the place.
First, leader Millburn says Republicans aren’t focused on social issues. Right. Next thing you know, a chunk of Republicans runs out with a big media circus all about….chipping away at constitutional rights.
Then another Republican faction claims they are all about the Constitution and forms its own caucus. Meanwhile, some Republicans are working in committees to lie about the state of the budget in order to make massive cuts to essential services for schools, the elderly and the disabled.
Cuts that aren’t justified given, as Williams and Sesso point out, that last session Schweitzer and the dems:
Passed a balanced budget and left $300 million in the bank to ride out the downturn we saw coming. We’re still in the black today, and the budget we pass for the next two years will keep us there. At the same time, we will eliminate the business equipment tax for most small businesses, reduce homeowners’ property taxes, and keep a healthy balance (more than $100 million) in savings to protect against any more bumps in the road.